Ephesians 5:21-33 tells us the truth about submission between men and women.
Many people struggle with difficult topics in the Bible. One of these virtually taboo topics is Ephesians 5:22, which reads, “Wives should be subject to their husbands as to the Lord.”
This passage is often misunderstood, particularly when paired with the following verse: “since, as Christ is the head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church is subject to Christ, so should wives be to their husbands, in everything.”
When the topic of anyone being submissive comes up, people often cringe. Of course people, men and women alike, rely on Ephesians 5:22 to explain away abusive or unhealthy relationships, but what does the Bible really mean?
When read in its entirety, Ephesians chapter 5 from verse 22 to 33 reads:
“Wives should be subject to their husbands as to the Lord,
since, as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife;
and as the Church is subject to Christ, so should wives be to their husbands, in everything.
“Husbands should love their wives, just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her
to make her holy by washing her in cleansing water with a form of words,
so that when he took the Church to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless.
“In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself.
“A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it; and that is the way Christ treats the Church,
because we are parts of his Body.
“This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh.
“This mystery has great significance, but I am applying it to Christ and the Church.
To sum up: you also, each one of you, must love his wife as he loves himself; and let every wife respect her husband.”
When read like this, the message suddenly becomes clear.
Women are no lower than men. If women are to submit to their husbands, who treat their wives with the same respect and reverence he does the church, then women are man’s equal.
We are all part of the Church, and Christ lives in us all. Men must love women as much as they love themselves and every wife must respect her husband as much as they respect the Church.
Neither sex is superior or inferior. When we respect and love each other, we develop an identity that cannot separate husband from wife.
The Lord did not create us to be dominated by one another, he created us to live our lives according to Christ’s example. Remember this and stand tall in your relationships.