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Does The Bible Say Wives Should Obey Their Husbands

Embracing Your Role As A Spouse

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As a spouse, you have three roles to playa friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. Youll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Submission Of Wives To Husbands


Youre not alone in wondering how to interpret biblical submission in marriage. Its a touchy subject, not least because its often misunderstood as being sexist or no-matter-what obedience. Add in our Western culture where a me-focused lifestyle is easy to come by and the internal and external conflict you described is real.

A closer look at Scripture, though, shows the full picture of marriage: a relationship that mirrors the love between Christ and His Church. When a husband submits to the Lord, leading his wife with a servants heart and nurturing her God-given talents, she can confidently submit to him lean on him and trust his covering. That will always be relevant.

The topic of submission in marriage is too broad to cover completely in one article. Nevertheless, we can build a solid framework with basic awareness of four areas:

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The Abuse Of The Bible

Unlike the Koran, there are no verses in the Bible that may be read as overtly condoning domestic abuse.

To the contrary, it is made clear that God hates violence and relationships must be driven by selflessness, grace and love.

There is no mainstream theologian in Australia who would suggest that a church should be anything but a sanctuary, or that a Christian relationship be marked by anything but love.

But church counsellors and survivors of family violence report that many abusive men, like Sally’s husband, rely on twisted or literalist interpretation of Bible verses to excuse their abuse.

Baker, whose 2010 book on counselling abused Christian women sprang from years of doctoral research, writes: “biblical principles and scriptures may be used by the perpetrator as a point of authority to condone his actions, or perhaps to ‘prove’ to the victim that she is not fulfilling her marital obligations.”

Abusive men commonly refer to several different parts of the Bible.

First are the verses cited by Sally’s husband Peter, above telling women to submit to their husbands and male authority, under the doctrine known as male headship.

Second are verses that say God hates divorce.

And third are those in 1 Peter that tell women to submit to husbands in a very particular way, as they follow instructions to slaves to submit to even “harsh masters”.

Christ Is The Head Of The Church

Christian Patriarchy: Should Wives Obey Their Husbands No Matter What ...

The Greek word for head is kephale. When Greeks used head in an idiomatic sense, it was rarely about authority. Instead, they understood the head as the cause of life, source of sustenance, and expression of identity. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11 , man is the head of woman. But its clear he is talking about who comes from who. Eve was created from Adam, so man is womans head. But Paul also wants the Corinthians to be careful about making too much of this. Men are born from women, so all humans are interdependent.

Furthermore, Christ is eternally begotten of the Father, not subordinate to him. If thats what it means for God to be the head of Christ, the same meaning probably carries through in Pauls other uses of the word.

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Momentum For Change Is Building

In the past three years, alarm bells have begun to ring about the role religion may play in fostering, or concealing abuse.

There have been two substantial inquiries into domestic violence in Australia in recent years. Both have identified religion as a significant, under-reported problem.

In 2014, the Queensland Government appointed former governor-general Quentin Bryce chair of the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence.

The report, Not Now, Not Ever, tabled in February 2015, pointed to the “challenge” of religious leaders:

“Disturbingly, a number of submissions and individuals reported to the taskforce that the leaders of faith in their particular community would not engage in helping victims or condemn perpetrators of domestic and family violence. These leaders of faith did not see it as the role of the religious gathering to ‘lecture’ about what happens in the privacy of a home The taskforce challenges leaders of all faiths and religions to take a leadership role in fostering and encouraging respectful relationships in their community, and to teach their communities and congregations that coercive control and violence are never acceptable.”

In the same month, the Victorian Government established the Royal Commission into Family Violence following a series of family violence-related deaths in the state, most notably that of Luke Batty, who was killed by his father in 2014.

In other words, whether they conceal, not reveal, abuse.

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What About Ephesians : 33 A Wife Must Respect Her Husband

Oh so many passages that are wielded as misused weapons against the daughters of God!

Dear loved one: think about how God respects you and imitate that:

1. Respect is allowing someone the freedom to be who they are while at the same time respecting yourself . This is the kind of freedom that God gives us .

2. You can disagree respectfully it isnt disrespectful to disagree. Iron sharpens iron by clashing together.

3. Respect means only controlling what you can control: your decisions. You cant control his and its disrespectful to try. You can let him make his choices, but you dont have to suffer at his hands for those choices and neither do your children. You have control over what happens to you. Protect yourself.

4. God doesnt tell wives how to behave without addressing husbands, too . In this Ephesians passage, it is clear that husbands are to love their wives. Dont think that your husband can demand respect at the expense of you forfeiting the command for him to love you.

Additionally, its important to point out that unconditional respect, like unconditional love, is something that we should all have for others – but know that there may be a difference between the respect that your husband demands and the respect that the Bible commands . For clarification, my article about What Is Respect .

In Titus : 5 The Bible Teaches That Wives Should Obey Their Husbands But How Or Why Should A Woman Obey When Her Husband Is Not Acting Like A Good Christian Spouse And Father

Are Wives Supposed to Obey Their Husbands Dr Muhammad Salah & John Fountain #HUDATV

1 Peter 3:1-2 , In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Submissive is Strongs Greek word #5293 and it means, to subordinate reflexively, to obey. Does this mean women are to be like children obeying their husbands? No. Consider Ephesians 5:15-21, See then that you walk circumspectlygiving thanks alwayssubmitting to one another in the fear of God. Paul is telling all believers to be respectful and honor each other. The Greek word for obey in Titus 2:5 is this same word.

We are all to graciously serve each other, both husbands and wives. We copy Jesus example in Matthew 20:28 , the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve . Romans 7:6 , we serve in newness of the Spirit Jesus served even though others treated Him poorly. We are all to serve even when others do not respond with appropriate behavior.

Its very tough when a wife doesnt feel the husband is acting in a godly manner. However, many times when women act consistently respectful of their husbands, husbands start to act wiser and more loving.

Additionally, there are some fine Christian books on marriage. Many offer solid, scriptural advice as to how to build a stronger marriage. If a marriage relationship feels very unhappy and stressful, Christian counseling is a good option.

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Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

To Submit Biblically To Your Husband You Must Be In Submission To The Lord

Ephesians 5:22, Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. The verb is in italics because it is not in the Greek text, but is carried over from verse 21. In the context, being subject to one another in the fear of Christ is a result of being filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit. As to the Lord does not mean that a wife must submit to her husband in exactly the same way that she submits to the Lord. The Lord is perfect, whereas every husband is far from perfect . Rather, Paul means that submission to your husband is a part of obedience to the Lord. If you are fighting against the idea of being subject to your husband, your attitude reflects that you are really fighting against the Lord, who ordained this order in marriage. So you must begin by yielding to the Lord and His inspired Word.

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What Else Does The Bible Say About Sex

Do it. In fact, if you’re struggling with wanting to have sex, get married and have it a lot. Well, that’s basically what God is saying in 1 Cor 7:9: “If they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” OKaaaay!

What else does the bible say about having sex? It says a lot actually, and this book would be quite a bit bigger if we included all of it. However, we will cover some of the important basics.

The Christian Men More Likely To Assault Their Wives

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The fact that domestic violence occurs in church communities is well established. Queensland academic Dr Lynne Baker’s 2010 book, Counselling Christian Women on How to Deal with Domestic Violence, cites a study of Anglican, Catholic and Uniting churches in Brisbane that found 22 per cent of perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse go to church regularly.

But American research provides one important insight: men who attend church less often are most likely to abuse their wives.

Those who are often on the periphery, in other words, who sometimes float between parishes, or sit in the back pews. For these men, the rate of abuse committed is alarmingly high.

As theology professor Steven Tracy wrote in 2008:

“It is widely accepted by abuse experts that evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group to assault their wives.”

Some attribute these findings to the conservative denominations and churches that preach and model male control, with male-only priesthoods and inviolate teachings on male authority.

Adelaide’s Anglican Assistant Bishop Tim Harris says, “it is well recognised that males seeking to justify abuse will be drawn to misinterpretations to attempt to legitimise abhorrent attitudes.”

Stressing that his diocese “strongly rejected” any teachings on male superiority, he told ABC News: “This has been a particular concern for those coming out of evangelical and fundamentalist backgrounds.”

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Women And Men Have Equal Worth

Submission can be a hot-button term because of how its perceived in contemporary culture: the implication that women are inferior to men.

However, Ephesians 5:15-33 was written to encourage unity in marriage. With that in mind, Pauls instruction to wives cant be separated from his teaching to men and his overarching advice to both sexes:

  • Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her .
  • to one another out of reverence for Christ .

The New Testament is very affirming of women shockingly so when viewed in its social and historical context. In one instance, Jesus talks openly with a Samaritan woman , something that normally would have been taboo for a Jewish man. In another case, Paul describes the standing of Christian believers before God and stresses that we are all one in Christ Jesus .

Scripture testifies to the equality of husband and wife in terms of personhood and value in the sight of God. So we can celebrate womens contributions both inside and outside the home and oppose all forms of sex-based mistreatment and injustice.

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The Spiritual Battle For Your Marriage

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Where Does The Bible Say Wives Submit To Your Husbands

Wives submit to your husbands is in the NIV twice:

  • Ephesians 5:22
  • Colossians 3:18

Theres a reason why I only gave the chapter/verse locations. Why? Because giving you the entire verse right away makes the incredible error of what happened to this poor woman instantly obvious. Incredibly obvious. And before you read it, I want to try to be sure youve gotten the point the interpretation and subsequent actions taken at Grace Community Church are just so, so wrong.

So lets look at both instances. First, just the sentences, as translated into English.

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What About The Child

I already asked this question multiple times, but what about the child? Did God want this for the child? Did God ordain that this must happen to the child and that it should continue unhindered by any means?

At this point, let me just say something, and then well return to it later. The mother asked for counseling. She was told by Grace Community Church leaders that professional counseling is worldly and wrong. Since I go to a church where Biblically-based counseling references are available, I obviously do not believe this is wrong. Having been through Biblically based-counseling myself, adds to that belief. Being married to someone who offers Biblically based-counseling, my belief is that much stronger. Of course, Im not saying everyone who offers it is necessarily good at it. However, those who do it right have knowledge of both the Bible and counseling. Here in California, to be a licensed marriage and family counselor, a masters degree in an appropriate field and some number of supervised hours of counseling are required.

In any case, I just want to say that she did ask for counseling and the church said it was wrong. Later, well get into the matter of forgiveness, looking at a booklet written by John MacArthur.

Therefore, for now, the question of what about the child is still not answered. In fact, not even addressed!


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