“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5.21-30
Paul has taken a lot heat over the centuries for these particular verses. Namely because his writings have either been abused, misinterpreted or ignored.
Feminists would take “wives submit to your own husbands,” as patriarchal and misogynistic. Blaming Paul, God and the Bible for keeping women in the shadows and putting us back thousands of years socially and culturally. On the flip side, fundamentalist religious men (both Christian and Muslim for example) would celebrate the verse believing that a woman’s place was only in the home, only defined by the men in her family, and limited in her ability to be the person God created her to be. They would say that the words of Paul are right on target — women are inferior. However, neither capture the essence of Paul or Scripture’s’ intent.
Yesterday I saw the movie Barbie. It was pretty fascinating. Being a man, I not only appreciated it but learned a lot about women and my wife. I was reminded of the value of all people and the calling of each to be who God created them to be. I was saddened to hear just exactly what women go through in life, love, expectations and calling. I was also encouraged and reminded of what a special and beautiful creation women are (thinking of my mother, sister, wife and daughter.) How they are created in God’s image with gifts and abilities and intended to love God and others. I highly recommend the movie for adults and did not take away any wokeness that might be an underlying current in the movie. I saw Barbie as a women defined by her own abilities and her uniqueness as a created being by God.
But back to Paul – verse 21 captures it correctly and the rest of the passage supports this premise — we are “to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We are to equally submit to each other — men to women, and women to men. Both are created with special abilities and gifts. If women are to submit to men, then men are also to submit to women. And yet, we are two separate genders. We are not the same and the trans-movement is distorting Gods’ beautiful and created intent — men and women are created in his image for relationship with God and one another.
Paul says women submit to men but also says men love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave up his life for her. Submitting to one, and dying for the other equals the playing field. Although we are created with different gifts, talents and abilities, we are created equally in God’s image to love him and to make his love known.
What a blessing to be made for him and by him. Let’s encourage one another today, both male and female, to be all who God created us to be. By his grace and for his glory!
“O Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for your kindness in showing yourself to human kind. Thank you for the ability to love you back and to strive to be all you have called us to be. Help us Lord to appreciate one another, male and female, and to affirm each as defined by you, in your image, and in your likeness. I praise you Lord for this day and for all you are to us. Come now, Holy Spirit, and fill me with your love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen