Posted February 28th, 2013 at 7:25 amNo Comments Yet
To my dear daughters ~Many times over the years I have had people, well meaning people, speak to me or think they are teaching me a lesson I somehow missed in church about women and their role in ministry and the home. They have actually gone to my husband and tried to convince him not to be so “Hen-pecked”, or controlled by a woman. I am a bold leader and a passionate one for the Lord, but if you knew my ex-husband you would know there is no one bossing him around or at least getting away with it. So in light of all of this confusion about what the Bible says about women I am attempting to clear up the issue.
Over the centuries and throughout much of the current church movements there seems to be much confusion about what Paul said about husbands and wives in the book of Ephesians.
Ephesians 5:17-33 17
“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
This one passage has been used countless times to wound and hurt both men and women and I for one am speaking out against this ‘false teaching’ which is rampant within the church. Many families have been so hurt by well meaning people quoting this scripture that it has caused great division and marriage problems for years even centuries. We seem in the church to be so quick to cast out false prophets, but we put up with false teachings leading astray our dearest and beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, all the time. It is time to see the Truth for what it is. This is not an article about a prophetic word of the Lord but The Written Word of God.
Let’s look at what Paul said and go back to the original Greek to see if we can find the answers that our hearts so long to receive to be free.
I am using A Greek-English Lexicon: With a Revised Supplement, 1996 By Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, Henry Stuart Jones, Roderick McKenzie, considered by many to be the most accurate Lexicon, taken from the ancient documents and using true homiletic research.
Looking at this passage in context we see Paul giving direction to the believers in Ephesus on community life and marriage. He starts off with Godly behavior among the believers and tries to teach them what the will of the Lord is for believers.
“17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
He teaches us to be filled with the Spirit, not spirits, as in alcohol and drunkenness, but in worship, singing, speaking psalms and the word to each other, being filled with the word so it overflows out of you in song and melody in your heart, a carefree lighthearted people filled with the joy of the Lord and a real Happy Holiness ~ a freedom to be Holy and enjoy it, without mocking and critical humor from others. He says we should be thankful for all things. It is an attitude of gratefulness towards the Father who gives us all things and towards each other as we serve each other in love and cheerfulness, not in a begrudging or argumentative spirit.
Then he says something wonderful ~ perhaps it has slipped by your thought processes in the past ~ “Submit to one another in the fear of God”.
Submit ~ we will look at this word in more detail later.
The next thing Paul says in this passage, as if he is still talking on the same subject, is an exhortation to married couples.
“22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Let’s look at a few of the key words in the greek:
3. Joined/become one
The greek word used in this passage (hupotasso) does mean “subject” in the active voice, but Paul was using the passive voice here, which carries a slightly but most definitely altogether different connotation. “(hupotasso) in the passive voice, means to get under and lift up, or to put in order. It can also be a military term referring to the equal sharing of tasks, to support, to fulfill one’s part of the assignment. Another good definition is, “To come along side as to give meaning.”
Paul never suggested that women should be subject to or submit under the authority of the man as in an authoritarian manner. This word could also be translated saying that we should “voluntarily defer or prefer” one another.
We are also to submit to God ~ but even the Lord does not demand of any of us a forced submission or a robot like obedience. The Lord actually despises such ~ those who draw near to him with their lips and not their hearts.
“Matthew 15:8 (New KingJames Version)
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “
Why would we think that God would ask of women more than He would ask of us for Himself. This kind of legalistic doctrine which teaches people that wives/women should be subject or under men is not from God anymore than it is from God that husbands/men should be falsely elevated above women. The only one who should ever be elevated above another is God. And the Lord was actually teaching about honoring mothers and fathers in this passage to the pharisees.
Here’s your sign!
When another human being thinks they deserve or teach that others deserve to be exalted above another human being it is called stinking pride! It is not the precious Lord’s way ~ He taught us Himself how we were to be towards each other ~
John 15: 9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.”
AND in Matthew 20:
“20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” 23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus taught us to love one another – face to face – not one looking down on to another – but as equal mature believers loving each other in the love of the Lord. He taught us to lay down our lives for each other. And in Matthew chapter 20, another passage about a mother who was attempting to get her boys in a high authority position over all the other disciples ~ Jesus said to her, that we were not to be like the gentiles lording it over one another to exercise great authority over each other but to stoop and serve each other in humility as Christ demonstrated to us His love and servant-hood. Actually every time the Lord dares to even speak with us He is showing His great mercy and servant-like nature to serve us in stooping so low as to even communicate with humans. He is a great God with great humility in holiness and a deep compassion for humans.
Now let’s get back to Ephesians 5:22- 24 ~ In verse 22 – 24 it says:
“22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
So let’s translate this more correctly ~
“Wives, voluntarily prefer/defer to your own husbands, get under and lift up, or put in order, come along side as to give meaning to them, as to the Lord.”
WOW! That’s sure different from what most have been taught.
Women help lift up your husbands come alongside them and give meaning to their lives. I think it is also implying, that women should go to their own husbands for comfort and emotional love and not to other men lest they be led astray by their hearts or other men, but that passage is vague in this area, so it would be wrong to read too much into the passage. Women have a deep God given need to be comforted by a man in a holy and loving manner that feeds their deepest need to be loved and nurtured. Imagine, women voluntarily being receptive and receiving from their husbands as well as giving, which is very important in most women’s natures.
I believe women long to receive love and respect from their husbands and so often just get neglect.
Now take verse 23:”23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. “
This word “head” (kephale) has been so misused it is grievous to me and to the Lord’s character and heart. Have you noticed how gentle the Lord is with women all throughout the scripture and how men, who need tenderness too, often need a challenge or a harder tactic taken with them?
The greek word for “head” in this passage means; “Origin, source, or river of life”.
So to correctly translate this verse it would be written ~“For the husband is the “river of Life” to/of the wife, as also Christ (the anointed one) is the “River of Life, The Source, The origin” of the Church; and He is the Savior of the Body.”
Hallelujah! Our God is the River of Life ~ the Creator the Source of all Life ~ the Truth, The Way, and The Life!
Husbands you are to be like a river of life to your wives. And wives you are to receive this wonderful Spirit led ministry to your hearts to heal you and set you free to be all you were created to be in Christ Jesus and to be to your husbands voluntary lovesick bride preferring them to all others as you would to the Lord. Lifting them up and coming alongside them to be their mate and partner in life.
This word “head” also has the meaning of the husband being a nurturer of his own wife. Who said men were not nurturers did not know or understand God’s heart in this manner. Many men are wonderful nurturers and fantastic fathers, they just seem to have an uphill battle against this doctrine and the enemy of their souls. Their battle is not in being wonderful, for most, but in showing their wives how wonderful they are. To most it becomes a sacrifice of love and servant-hood, but it does not have to be that way.
Hiding from the Lord and each other in shame was a direct result of sin in the garden of Eden, and is not God’s will or desire for any of us now either.
The will of the Lord for couples is for men to receive the power of the Holy Spirit to be the river of life to your wives. None of us can love in our own strength ~ we must ask God to give us this kind of love ~ but we were all created to be lovers not fighters. It is God’s will for us to be able to be free to be holy ~ singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord and with each other, child-like care-freeness, not worldly street-wise hardness and savvy. If you have a hard time with this and think it is silly ~ perhaps your heart has been hardened and needs the Lord the come into your heart and heal you and set you free to love and be loved ~ true freedom in God.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Husbands were created by God to wash their wives with the water of the Word. What in the world does that mean? Well, let me explain it by asking you a question. Have you ever read or quoted the Word over your wife in her presence? If you have you will immediately see her face becoming peaceful and the love within her rising up to the top.
(If of course you did not quote the word AT her with the intention of wounding or preaching in a mean spirit.)
God gave men a full proof way to alleviate the stress and tension in your lives that you perceive your wife is causing ~ an intimate way, which will build intimacy and strength into your wives and subsequently into your marriage and homes.
“Washing your wives with the water of the Word” being to them as the river of life. Try it you will be surprised with the affect it produces. How beautiful and loving would wives be if men would take intimate time and read the psalms over them or better yet the Song of Solomon. Your wives would melt at your request if you would but wash them in love and respect with the tools the Lord has spoken to you. Perhaps their souls have built up a residue of resentment for years of pain from the neglect they feel because they have never been washed by their husbands.
Oh, the Lord washes us all with His Word continually, but it is their spiritual relationship with the Lord that has grown, not the marriage intimacy with you we all desire.
Back to Ephesians again:
“24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
Let’s translate it: “Therefore, just as the church prefers her Beloved Christ Jesus, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
I can tell you ~ there is not a wife on the planet that doesn’t prefer for her husband to be the one to heal her heart and to be the one to be like a savior or rescuer of her heart. Women are really looking for their husbands to be their champions, the one who says to her
“You’re to die for!”
WOW! ~ How sexy is that!
In the garden of Eden, sin changed everything!
Our original state is written about in the book of Genesis ~
Gen. 2:24 -25:
“24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
“26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We were created to be naked and unashamed before each other and God. True vulnerability and openness in our relationships ~ “to be of one heart, one way and one mind” in true holiness and communion in union together in God and with God, becoming one flesh and in Christ Jesus one Spirit and the one true Body of Christ in the earth ~ Christ in you the hope of Glory ~ the Glory of the Lord covering the earth ~ His Glory in His people loving one another ~ true kindred spirits in happy holiness. We were created to be loved and to love each other and to give this love back to God.
Philippians 1: 27 “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
Jeremiah 32:39 (New King James Version) “39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them.”
We were also created to be equals in dominion over the earth. Men & women working together in the earth to bring forth the purposes of God. We each bring differing gifts and talents to the scene and all are needed to get the job done. This was a ‘face to face’ relationship, as in the Trinity. Not one person being above another in the Trinity ~ The Father being equal with the Son and the Son being equal with the Spirit, etc. All in perfect union and oneness – all preferring and deferring in love to each other – all loving completely and freely each other – all being one together and 3 separate persons in complete and perfect union and otherliness. No striving or arguing but giving preference to each other in conversations and wisdom. We are to be holy as Christ is holy ~ holy in oneness and love with freedom in our hearts and joy and worship on our lips.
Both men and women should seek God together and separately when making major decisions and come back together to confer with one another and try to come to an agreement before making purchases or major life decisions. If there is no agreement, then more prayer is needed. We must trust God to change the one who needs changing ~ for God will resist the proud and give grace to the humble. God has a way of convincing people when it is time to move out and when it is time to stay. Later, we find God in His infinite wisdom and providence has His way with the willing hearts and those who are not willing and letting the Lord lead their lives regret it forever.
James 3: 13-18
“13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
In marriage their should be 3 tables of intimacy between a husband and wife:
1) The table of the marriage bed
2) The table where they dine together
3) The table of prayer and communion
All 3 are necessary tables of intimacy ~ sexual and romantic love play an important role in the marriage and if it is missing there is a lack of loving fellowship which produces close and intimate relationships of satisfaction, comfort and security.
The dinner table is a place of friendship and commitment to dine together and share one another’s day as friends and companions. Without this daily interaction we become distant and resentful of our spouse not really sharing out our lives together but only being room mates and keeping the relationship on an impersonal level.
And the table of prayer and communion is also extremely important. You never really know a person until you pray together and for each other. For some reason people open there hearts in prayer and become real, or they hide in silence from one another. Silent prayer is good for personal prayer times but when together we as couples should learn how to communicate with the Lord and each other ~ or once again it just becomes two people living side by side, but the deep intimacy is gone that draws us together in oneness toward the Lord and each other.
Intimacy can not be experienced alone! It by it’s very nature has to be shared with another or more than one to be intimacy. God in His very essence is a communal God ~ One God in 3 persons ~ fully and wholly complete in oneness and union with each other.
Perhaps you are single ~ remember you are not alone ~ intimacy with the Beloved Lord Jesus is the sweetest intimacy in the universe for all eternity. We must all gravitate toward the Holy Spirit in order to truly know intimacy, but God does desire for husbands and wives to know this sweet fellowship on a deeper level, one He created for all couples to live in together.
“20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
Oneness in marriage or living in community with other believers is something to be cherished and nurtured not lorded over one another with a supremacist attitude. If we are accountable to the Lord first and then to each other in holy community we will live in peace and holy happiness. God has told us how to live with each other ~ in songs and hymns and singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. God is not interested in fair-weather friends ~ people who are only around when times are good though ~ God is interested in a people who will go deep with him in passionate voluntary lovesick worship ~ we should all be people who are so dedicated and so in love with the Lord that we are excited about serving Him and each other. Our conversations should reflect who we are in Jesus and what He is doing in our midst. What is the subject of the majority of your conversations? Judge yourself.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Our marriages are supposed to be voluntary lovesick awesome marriages of oneness with each other and the Trinity of heaven. Women were created in the image of God and so were men ~ let’s learn to be a ‘river of life’ to our mates and others ~ for the sake of the Name of Jesus and His Glory ~ arise and shine for thy light has come!