Building A Christ Centered Marriage -- By: Chad Owen Brand

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 03:2 (Summer 1998)
Article: Building A Christ Centered Marriage
Author: Chad Owen Brand

Building A Christ Centered Marriage

Chad Brand

How Husbands And Wives Can Complement One Another In Marriage

At our convention in Salt Lake City, Southern Baptists declared as a body that we agree with Paul’s words to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22–33. Southern Baptists? Agreeing with the Bible? That might not sound very startling at first, but there are Baptists who think Paul’s words in this chapter are a bit outdated. Some even reject his teaching on marriage outright, and have said as much in response to the Family Amendment to the Baptist Faith and Message. In light of the uproar over the denominational stance, it would serve us well to look at the text and its affirmations. First we will consider God’s instruction through Paul. Then we will examine objections to this marriage model. Finally, we will address those objections.

Paul’s Analogy

Ephesians 5:22–33 is the longest passage in the Bible on the subject of marital relations. It stands at the climax of a series of commands and observations in which Paul instructed these Christians to be filled with the Spirit (5:18). He then characterized Spirit-filled believers as those who are “speaking to one another” in spiritual ways, “singing and making melody” in their hearts to the Lord, “always giving thanks” to him for all things, and as those who are “subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (5:19–21). Having introduced the idea of subjection of all believers toward others, Paul brings his practical exhortation about Spirit-filled living into the home.

The Obligation Of Wives To Husbands

The first word is to wives. They are instructed, “Submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” The verb “submit” is implicit, brought down from verse twentyone. All Christians should give humble deference to one another, but specifically, wives are to take the initiative to subject themselves to their husbands. The directive calls for a voluntary yielding in love on the part of the wife. The New Testament never tells husbands to subjugate their wives, rather it instructs the wives to take submission into their own hands. This does not deny the husband and wife’s essential equality before God, an idea which Paul affirms in Galatians 3:28, where he declares, “There is neither … male nor female, for all are one in Christ.”

Since the two share equality before God, why should the wife live in submission to her husband? Paul says she should do it “as to the Lord.” Her submi...

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