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To Love and to Cherish     Eph. 5:21-33; 1 Pet.3:7     May 16, 2010


       I don’t believe you will find a specific command for a woman to love her husband; Neither will you find a specific command for a man to be submissive to his wife. If you find one please contact me and share it with me. Now note I said specific command. Why? I have asked that question for several years in several mixed audiences and the answer I have been given is it is hard for a man to love; so he is given a specific command to love his wife. It is hard for a woman to be submissive; So she is commanded to submit to her husband. Now what I have personally discovered demonstrates if a man displays his love for his wife in manners she likes, she does not have a problem with submission. So husband if you think your wife is not submissive check out your expressions of love. Does she know without question you love her?


1.   Understand and Practice . . Submission. 5:21-24

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.

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

5:21 be subject. The key thought for understanding Paul's view of proper personal relationships in a Christian household; the subjection is to be mutual and based on reverence for God. The differing responsibilities, if followed, bring harmony, but, if ignored, they bring difficulties.

5:22 Wives are to submit to the leadership of their husbands in the home (vv. 22, 24); they are to respect their husbands (v. 33); they are to love their husbands (Titus 2:4) and live with them until death (Rom 7:2-3).

(Ryrie Study Bible.)


  (Life Application Study Bible.)

5:21, 22 Submitting to another person is an often misunderstood concept. It does not mean becoming a doormat. Christ—at whose name "every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth" (Phil 2:10)—submitted his will to the Father, and we honor Christ by following his example. When we submit to God, we become more willing to obey his command to submit to others, that is, to subordinate our rights to theirs. In a marriage relationship, both husband and wife are called to submit. For the wife, this means willingly following her husband's leadership in Christ. For the husband, it means putting aside his own interests in order to care for his wife. Submission is rarely a problem in homes where both partners have a strong relationship with Christ and where each is concerned for the happiness of the other.

5:22-24 In Paul's day, women, children, and slaves were to submit to the head of the family: Slaves would submit until they were freed, male children until they grew up, and women and girls their whole lives. Paul emphasized the equality of all believers in Christ (Gal 3:28), but he did not suggest overthrowing Roman society to achieve it. Instead, he counseled all believers to submit to one another by choice—wives to husbands and also husbands to wives; slaves to masters and also masters to slaves; children to parents and also parents to children. This kind of mutual submission preserves order and harmony in the family, while it increases love and respect among family members.

5:22-24 Although some people have distorted Paul's teaching on submission by giving unlimited authority to husbands, we cannot get around it: Paul told wives to submit to their husbands. The fact that a teaching is not popular is no reason to discard it. One way to disarm the antagonism that the external culture may inject into the marriage relationship is to remember that the wife gets to submit and the husband gets to die. According to the Bible, the man is the spiritual head of the family, and his wife should acknowledge his leadership. But real spiritual leadership involves loving service (a form of dying). Just as Christ served the disciples, even to the point of washing their feet, so the husband is to serve his wife. A wise and Christ-honoring husband will not take advantage of his leadership role, and a wise and Christ-honoring wife will not try to undermine her husband's leadership. Either approach causes disunity and friction in marriage.

5:22-28 Why did Paul tell wives to submit and husbands to love? Perhaps Christian women, newly freed in Christ, found submission difficult; perhaps Christian men, used to the Roman custom of giving unlimited power to the head of the family, were not used to treating their wives with respect and love. Of course both husbands and wives should submit to each other (5:21), just as both should love each other.

(Life Application Study Bible.)

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Four Commands for Wives (Eph 5:22)

1.    Submit to their husbands as to Christ (Eph 5:22).

2.    Recognize the headship of their husbands (Eph 5:23).

3.    Be subject to their husbands (Eph 5:24).

4.    Reverence their husbands (Eph 5:33).

Verse 24

a [every thing] Everything that is lawful and right, not in things criminal and wrong. If he is sinful and demands her to leave off the things that save the soul, she is not under obligation to him. Her God and her soul must come first (Matt 22:37; Luke 14:26-27). Obedience to the husband in all things is based upon him loving his wife, as Christ does the church (Eph 5:25,28,33).

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)


2.   Understand and Practice . . Love. 5:25-30

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.


(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Eight Commands for Husbands (Eph 5:25)

1.    To be head of the wife (Eph 5:23).  2.    To love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph 5:25).

3.    To love their wives as their own bodies (Eph 5:28,33).

4.    To nourish (Greek: ektrepho (NT:1625), bring up, care for, protect, Eph 5:29; 6:4; Rev 12:6)

5.    To cherish (Greek: thalpo (NT:2282), to foster, warm in one's bosom, Eph 5:29; 1 Thess 2:7)

6.    To be joined as one flesh (Eph 5:30-31)        7.    To leave their parents for their wives (Eph 5:31)

8.    To cleave to their wives (Eph 5:31; Matt 19:5)

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Life Application Study Bible.)

 5:25ff Some Christians have thought that Paul was negative about marriage because of the counsel he gave in 1 Cor 7:32-38. These verses in Ephesians, however, show a high view of marriage. Here marriage is not a practical necessity or a cure for lust, but a picture of the relationship between Christ and his church! Why the apparent difference? Paul's counsel in 1 Corinthians was designed for a state of emergency during a time of persecution and crisis. Paul's counsel to the Ephesians is more the biblical ideal for marriage. Marriage, for Paul, is a holy union, a living symbol, a precious relationship that needs tender, self-sacrificing care.

5:25-30 Paul devotes twice as many words to telling husbands to love their wives as to telling wives to submit to their husbands. How should a man love his wife? (1) He should be willing to sacrifice everything for her, (2) make her well being of primary importance, and (3) care for her as he cares for his own body. No wife needs to fear submitting to a man who treats her in this way.

5:26, 27 Christ's death makes the church holy and clean. He cleanses us from the old ways of sin and sets us apart for his special sacred service (Heb 10:29; 13:12). Christ cleansed the church by the washing of baptism. Through baptism we are prepared for entrance into the church just as ancient Near Eastern brides were prepared for marriage by a ceremonial bath. It is God's Word that cleanses us (John 17:17; Titus 3:5).

(Life Application Study Bible.)

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

5:25 Husbands are to love their wives, lead them (v. 23), nurture them in the things of Christ (v. 29), and live with them faithfully for life (Matt 19:3-9).

5:26-27 The ultimate purpose of Christ's death is to present us to Himself blameless.

(Ryrie Study Bible.)


3.   Understand and Practice . . Respect and Love. 5:31-33; 1Pet 3:7

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. NKJV

       1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the

       weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. NKJV

(Life Application Study Bible.)

5:31-33 The union of husband and wife merges two persons in such a way that little can affect one without also affecting the other. Oneness in marriage does not mean losing your personality in the personality of the other. Instead, it means caring for your spouse as you care for yourself, learning to anticipate his or her needs, helping the other person become all he or she can be. The creation story tells of God's plan that husband and wife should be one (Gen 2:24), and Jesus also referred to this plan (Matt 19:4-6).

(Life Application Study Bible.)

    (Ryrie Study.)

5:32 The relationship between believing husbands and wives illustrates that which exists between Christ (the bridegroom) and the church (His bride). See also Matt 25:1-13; Rev 19:7-8; 21:2.

6:1 in the Lord. I.e., obedience to parents is part of a child's obligation to Christ whether or not the parents are believers. See the example of Christ in Luke 2:51 and Heb 5:8.

6:2 first. Of primary importance. A rebel has less chance of living long (1 Sam 4:11). When a child marries, his relationship to his parents changes (5:31) but not his responsibility to provide for them (1 Tim 5:4).

(Ryrie Study.)

1 Peter 3:7 weaker vessel physically. that your prayers will not be hindered. The man who fails to give his wife due consideration can hardly pray with her.

(Ryrie Study Bible.)

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Verse 7

a [Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife] Two commands for husbands:

1.Likewise — be just as faithful to your wives as you want them to be to you; give them no excuse for sin.

2.    Give honor to the wife, using your superior strength in protecting her and as being heirs together of life.

b [weaker vessel] More beautiful, delicate, and frail.

c [that your prayers be not hindered] Many prayers are hindered because of the unfaithfulness of husbands and wives.

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

(Life Application Study Bible.)

    3:7 When Peter says that women may be "weaker" than men, he was not implying moral or intellectual inferiority, but was recognizing women's physical limitations. Women in his day, if unprotected by men, were vulnerable to attack, abuse, and financial disaster. Women's lives may be easier today, but women are still vulnerable to criminal attack and family abuse. And in spite of increased opportunities in the workplace, many women still earn less than men, and the vast majority of the nations' poor are single mothers and their children. A man who honors his wife as a member of the weaker sex will protect, respect, help, and stay with her. He will not expect her to work full-time outside the home and full-time at home; he will lighten her load wherever he can. He will be sensitive to her needs, and he will relate to her with courtesy, consideration, insight, and tact.


3:7 If a man is not considerate and respectful of his wife, his prayers will not be heard, because a living relationship with God depends on right relationships with others. Jesus said that if you have a problem with a fellow believer, you must make it right with that person before coming to worship (Matt 5:23,24). This principle carries over into family relationships. If men use their position to mistreat their wives, their prayers will be hindered.

(Life Application Study Bible.)