The scariest scriptures, Ephesians 5:22-24

Ephesians 5:22-24 is often quoted by those who teach that women must submit to their husbands.

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Those who quote Ephesians 5:22-24 do not adhere to it. The Danvers Statement Concern #8 is “The increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical Texts,” but even their writers back away from the plain meaning of this text.

The plain meaning of Ephesians 5:22-24 is:

  • Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. The plain meaning would put husbands on equal footing with God.
  • The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. The plain meaning gives husbands salvation rights, judgment rights, forgiveness ability, healing ability, miracles, obedience authority, to accept worship, to answer prayers, and the right to receive tithes.
  • The husband is the savior of the wife just like Christ is the Savior of the church. The plain meaning makes husbands saviors of their wives. Why would the great I AM, share His salvation right with an earthly man?
  • The church submits to Christ. The plain meaning makes husbands worthy of having wives submit to them.
  • Wives should submit to their husbands in everything. The plain meaning makes man divine and infallible.

Does any Christian believe that men can save their wives, and that wives should submit to their husbands in absolutely everything? Ask your pastor about this and he will begin to qualify this statement. It is qualified when they say that women should not follow their husbands into sin. It is qualified when they say a wife should not endure physical abuse. It is qualified when they make old age or infirmity of a husband an exception to allow wives to make decisions for their aged or infirm husbands.

Anyone who reads Ephesians 5:23 and insists that this scripture means that the husband literally has spiritual or physical charge over his wife, has made a golden idol and named it husband. To read this scripture that way gives man divinity and nullifies the whole Bible that proclaims only “One” God.

The plain meaning of this scripture is scary, yet it is quoted so casually that we have accepted the part we want to hear “that wives should submit to their husbands,” and have ignored the significance of the remaining part of that sentence.

 

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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9 Responses to The scariest scriptures, Ephesians 5:22-24

  1. Charis says:

    I follow you on Twitter and you have tweeted about Eph 5 twice recently. I’m replying here because it is too long for Twitter. I believe the grammar of Eph 5 has been mistranslated to favor the traditional “wives submit” interpretation (imposing imperative/command grammar which Paul does not use for the hupotasso verb). I agree with you that the point Paul is making is to reinforce to husband that their agape (for which verb Paul repeatedly uses imperative/command grammar) can be redemptive for the wife by ameliorating the brutal effects of fallen Gen 3:16 “husband rule”


    The following is what started me on the journey of understanding that the passages used to oppress and silence women have been translated inaccurately- according to the traditions of men. 


    Note letter for letter the exact same Greek word in the three passages below highlighted in blue. The screenshots are from biblos.com Interlinear. The English translation is in brownish orange below each Greek word.. 






    An accurate rendering:”but even as the assembly is subject to Christ, so also [are] the wives to their own husbands in everything.” Eph 5:24 (YLT)






    ​​


    Rom 8:20 -“was subjected”- same verb different conjugation (AIP aorist indicative passive)






    In each case, ask yourself if this is referring to a “joyful voluntary submission”? Or could it be that wives are subject to husbands like humans are subject to gravity? Do you have any control over your subjection to gravity?  Do demons have control over their subjection to the disciples? Does the creation have any control over its subjection to futility? Does a wife have any control over her subjection/vulnerability to her own husband? Does the church have any control over its subjection to Christ?


    A quote from the movie Fireproof: “A woman’s like a rose. If you treat her right, she’ll bloom. If you don’t, she’ll wilt.” Bad treatment by her husband wilts her like gravity. I wish it didn’t but it does- I really had no control of the detrimental impact of my husband’s behavior on my psyche. I was subject to him. I really wished that it didn’t distress and wound me so much when he was harsh- it would make marriage easier if he didn’t have that power, if I wasn’t subject to him. I think subjection to him was a consequence of the Fall: Genesis 3:16


    Genesis 3:16 and Eph 5:24 are descriptions not prescriptions/commands. Paul is reminding the congregation that a wife is subject/vulnerable to her husband in everything (I am very literal and always believed “everything” meant no exceptions- which- if it was a “command” as commonly taught, completely removes a wife’s freedom and authority.). In Eph 5, Paul uses no imperative/command grammar with the submission verb but repeatedly uses command grammar with the agape verb directed to husbands.  A husband’s agape love toward his wife is redemptive- lifts that burden of the consequence of the Fall (her subjection/vulnerabiliy) and transforms it to something beautiful= “Good News”.

    Like

    • Thank you for following me on Twitter! It is my pleasure to get to “meet” those who follow me.

      It appears that you do not agree with me.

      My friend, there is no way in heaven or on earth that ” A husband’s agape love toward his wife is redemptive- lifts that burden of the consequence of the Fall (her subjection/vulnerabiliy) and transforms it to something beautiful= “Good News”.

      For a husband’s love to be redemptive, it would make him equal with Christ, whose love for us redeems us.

      Good News? By no means. It is worship of a human man on earth.

      Like

  2. Charis says:

    The screenshots are not showing. You can see them here: https://titus2keeper.wordpress.com/2021/10/18/ephesians-524/

    Like

  3. “I agree with you that the point Paul is making is to reinforce to husband that their agape (for which verb Paul repeatedly uses imperative/command grammar) can be redemptive for the wife by ameliorating the brutal effects of fallen Gen 3:16 “husband rule”

    You have mistaken what I mean and misinterpreted. In no way, form or fashion, do I believe that a husband’s love can be redemptive for the wife.

    Like

    • Charis says:

      Perhaps a poor choice of words on my part? I don’t mean in a “salvation” sense. “Redemptive” in a similar sense that tractors, fertilizer and paid vacation ameliorate the consequence of Gen 3:19. An effort on the part of the man not to live under the consequence of the Fall in how he treats his wife- a kind of “Kingdom” living like this:

      Rom 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of [f]corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

      Like

  4. Mara R says:

    Charis!
    I miss you!
    Good to see you still around.

    Shirley,
    I’m not on twitter.
    I just read whatever you put here.
    Thanks for doing what you do.

    Like

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