...because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
The Story: Even though sin is locked into the members of our bodies (Romans 7:21-23), a marriage between two partners committed to Christ restores—as much as is possible this side of the resurrection—the unity that existed between man and woman in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. That union, complete, perfect and entire, was such that the two were “one flesh”. A Christian man is to “leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.” When Adam first saw the Woman, he declared, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). In a Christian marriage, the husband’s allegiance is to his wife, even if that allegiance results in a broken relationship with one or both of the husband’s parents. This commitment is based on Christ’s commitment to His church. The church is called “Christ’s body” (see 1 Cor. 12, esp. v. 27). Christ loves His body, His church. He loves His body as He loves Himself. Husband’s, likewise, are also to love their wives as they love their own bodies. Because of this, Paul states that the marriage bond is a “mystery” which is “profound.” As the church should revere and respect Christ, so also should the wife revere and respect her husband.
The Structure: In verse 33, The English Standard Version substitutes “respect” for the word “fear” in order to make the verse appear less patriarchal, but the idea of “fear” as used here does not include trepidation and dread, but includes esteem, value and admiration. If anything, this is an anti-patriarchal statement in that the standard is much higher for the male than for the female. In order to receive this type of “fear” from his wife, the husband has to study his wife and know her even better than he knows himself; this is the only way he can consistently place her needs above his own and to love her as he loves his own body. He must earn her respect and admiration.
If your marriage is in difficulty, pray that God will reveal to you what needs to be done in order to bring healing to the relationship. Counseling might be in order. If so, seek a Christian counselor who will enter into the counseling from a Biblical and a prayerful perspective.
For more insight to the book of Ephesians, order your copy of The Message of Ephesians: God’s New Society, by John R. W. Stott, from our online store.
The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.