"Wives, _____ to your husbands."
That is a strange sentence. Fill in the blank. What could go there?
Wives, serve the food to your husbands (for the cooks)
Wives, dish the rock to your husbands (for the ballers)
Wives, slowly hand the gun to your husbands (for the murderesses)
Wives, pass the pigs to your husbands (for the lame gamers)
Wives, holla to your husbands (for folk from The Shore)
Wives, give the elbow under the table to your husbands (for me)
We're studying Ephesians 5:21-33 tonight in Small Group. We've been really loving our time in Ephesians, basking in the theology of our unity to Christ.
But this passage is a tough one.
It starts out like this:
"21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord."
But here are two tough things about the passage...
First, the passage doesn't necessarily say "wives." The word there could also mean "women." We translate it "wives" from the context; just a few words to the right you hear the word "husbands." There's a big difference between saying that "wives" need to submit and that "women" need to submit, unity rather than hierarchy.
Second, v. 22 doesn't actually say "submit to your husbands." It actually says "to your husbands." The passage wouldn't make sense without the context: "Wives, to your own husbands." Needs a verb, right? The lack of a verb links the submission of wives to the mutual submission of Christians to one another mentioned in v. 21. Even though men and women are distinctly different in God's design, husbands and wives can continue to cooperate with each other and carry each other's burdens (hupotassomenoi).
Two verses in and there's already a lot of complexity. I love the complexity, the wrestling with words and the seeing more and more clearly the deep and important wisdom of God.
And I love digging into God's Word with our Small Group. God brings such depth to his word through his people. That's why we do Small Groups.