In pre-marital counseling, you can almost see couples wince when I bring up Paul’s admonition to wives in Ephesians 5. Paul’s instructions to married couples begin with those fated words, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” That phrase has bothered many modern Christians. Those are words that denominations have divided over. And they are words that have been misunderstood by most.
Recently we were studying Ephesians 5 in our connection group. We had a rich conversation about the passage that hinged on the two most important truths in the passage. Each of those truths is grossly neglected in contemporary conversations around Ephesians 5 and each deserves to be re-examined.
First: Paul argues in Ephesians 5 that marriage is a God-ordained drama that points to something bigger than us. Again and again in the passage, Paul tells us that our marriages are a play that God has designed to point to his relationship with the church. Would you re-read the passage with me and look for all the times Paul likens the wife to the church and the husband to Jesus in this drama?