Mutuality In Marriage
Mighty Lord, You are the God of wisdom, power, and love. I’m grateful for all that You are to me.
Read Ephesians 5:21-33
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband … the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” (1 Cor. 7:4, TNIV).
This section begins with v. 21, for the key verb (“submit”) comes there in the Greek, not in v. 22. Paul tells us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” and continues: “wives to your husbands.” Submission is the voluntary giving up of one’s own rights and self-interest for the other, and the teaching on marriage is in the context of mutual submission within the body of Christ. Wives are asked to submit, and husbands to love. This is a reciprocal relationship. Paul is not teaching that the wife alone has the responsibility to submit any more than the husband alone must love. Both do both.
The analogy of Christ and the church is central to Paul’s teaching on marriage. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church, his body. I see this as a statement of inter-relationship and mutual belonging, as we see in ch. 4. Paul draws on it again when he explains how the husband is to love his wife. He is to love as Christ loved the church and as he loves his own body. Each illustration points to the nurturing and self-giving aspects of love. Christ loved the church by emptying himself and becoming a servant, even dying for her (25; Phil. 2:6-8). A man loves his body by caring for it and looking after it (29). Daily, sacrificial care for his wife’s good is to be the pattern of a husband’s love. It seems a far more extreme expression of devotion than the simple “respect” the wife is called to give (33). Paul’s picture of deep commitment and loving, mutual care holds much hope for marriage in our culture today.
Pray for a renewed, biblical view of marriage in our society. Pray for any marriages you know of that need such renewal–even yours.
Father, I pray for those I know who are struggling in their marriages. Bring them forgiveness, restoration, and hope.
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