The first 4 parts of this article can be found at the links below:
The original message to which I responded was written by Steve Coerper and can be found at the link below:
I kept the original title in my articles in order to keep a consistency as to why I was writing.
Now we come to the part where contention usually arises (if it hasn’t already) and that is the scripture verses in Ephesians 5:21-33
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 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 mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. RSV
The contention usually arises with idea of men being the head of the wife and women having to be submissive unto their husbands. People like to point out that verse 21 tells us to be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. That being the case there should be a mutual submission between the husband and the wife. This is true. However, it does not negate the roles that God himself has chosen for both the man and the woman.
Mutual submission does not mean mutual decision-making nor does it mean mutual headship. For it is first the natural and than the spiritual and within this passage we see that man is commanded to lay his life for his wife in order to sanctify her (i.e. the process of setting her apart unto God) that she might become holy (set apart unto God) and without blemish (mature). The man is told to love his wife as his own body because if he loves his wife he loves himself. This is the man’s role as head to his wife as Jesus is the head of his church.
So, if a man is to lay down his life does that mean the wife does not have to lay down her life? No, we see in other parts of the scriptures that if anyone wants to follow Jesus they must deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow him. Is denying oneself and laying down ones life equivalent to one another? It would seem so especially when picking up ones cross is a metaphor for dying. Furthermore we are all called to present our bodies as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) and a sacrifice it called to die.
If a man is to love his wife as himself does that mean the wife does not have to love her husband; does that mean she not have to care for him as she cares for herself? No, the scriptures tell us to love one another (John 15:27). They also tell us in Romans 12:10 that we are to…
…Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another… NKJV
In fact there are more than 50 “one another” statements in the scriptures that are given to help guide us in our walk amongst other believers in Jesus. None of these statements negate the more specific statements given to the husband and wife. Thus when Jesus said that we are to love one another it does not nullify the more specific statement that a man is to love his wife. Because Jesus said we are to deny ourselves and pick up our cross to follow him it does not invalidate Paul’s admonishment for husband’s to lay down their lives for their wives.
Thus when Paul states in Ephesians 5 that we are to be subject or submissive to one another it does not cancel the more specific statement that follows regarding the wife being submissive to her husband. For it is first the natural and than the spiritual and in this case a husband laying down his life for his wife shows forth the mystery of Jesus laying down his life for his church. By the wife being subject to her husband “in all things” it shows the attitude of the church towards Jesus and how we are submissive to him in all things.
The man is the head of the woman as Jesus is the head of the church, the man is to love his wife and nourish her as Jesus loves and nourishes his church. The man is to lay down his life for his wife that she might be sanctified unto God just as Jesus laid down his life that the church might be sanctified unto God.
The woman is the body to man as the church is the body to Jesus. The woman is to be subject unto the man just as the church is to be subject unto to Jesus. The woman is to make sure that she respects her husband just as the church has honor for Jesus.
These are the roles God has chosen for the man and the woman. To go around these roles or to try and change the roles God has given us is to defy God. Therefore, the man is to love his wife and lay his life down for her whether or not she is willing to be the kind of wife to which God calls her. The woman is to be subject to her husband as the church is subject to Jesus (Eph. 5:24) whether or not he is willing to be the kind of husband to which God calls him. These commands are not dependent upon the other half doing what God commands them to do, they are only dependent upon our obedience…although it does make it easier to obey them when the other person is also obeying.
These are the roles God has laid out for the man and the woman. He did this to show a picture to us about our relationship with Jesus. As Paul says at the end of the Ephesians 5 passage:
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church…”
The man and the woman picture our relationship with Jesus. The two become one. Yet as we have seen it does not stop there, for the man represents Jesus and the woman the church.
Taking these things into account there is another scripture that causes much debate and that is the one found in 1 Tim 2:5-15 where we read Paul’s words to Timothy in regards to various church instructions:
5 For there is but one God and but one Mediator between God and men--Christ Jesus, Himself man; who gave Himself as the redemption price for all--a fact testified to at its own appointed time, and of which I have been appointed a herald and an Apostle (I am speaking the truth: it is not a fiction), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8 So then I would have the men everywhere pray, lifting to God holy hands which are unstained with anger or strife; and I would have the women dress becomingly, with modesty and self-control, not with plaited hair or gold or pearls or costly clothes, but--as befits women making a claim to godliness--with the ornament of good works.
11 A woman should quietly learn from others with entire submissiveness.
12 I do not permit a woman to teach, nor have authority over a man, but she must remain quiet.
13 For Adam was formed first, and then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but his wife was thoroughly deceived, and so became involved in transgression.
15 Yet a woman will be brought safely through childbirth if she and her husband continue to live in faith and love and growing holiness, with habitual self-restraint. - Weymouth Translation
Remember, first the natural than the spiritual, so if this is a natural picture what is the spiritual picture?