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.