Wives and Husbands

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 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.


  1. Ephesians 5:27 Or holy and blameless

ESV Study Bible notes:
5:22-33 Wives and Husbands. The first example of general submission (v. 21) is illustrated as Paul exhorts wives to submit to their husbands (vv. 22-24, 33). Husbands, on the other hand, are not told to submit to their wives but to love them (vv. 25-33).

5:25 love. [Paul] does not command the husband to submit to his wife but instead tells the husband that he must give himself up for her. Thus, husbands are to love their wives in a self-sacrificial manner, following the example of Christ, who “gave himself up for” the church in loving self-sacrifice. Clearly the biblical picture of a husband laying down his life for his wife is directly opposed to any kind of male tyranny or oppression … Notably, Paul devotes three times more space to the husband’s duty (nine verses) than to the wife’s (three verses).

5:31 one flesh. The command for a husband to love his wife as he loves his own flesh (v. 29) originates in the creation reality that God joins husbands and wives together to “become one flesh.” Paul’s quotation is from Gen 2:24, speaking of marriage before there was any sin in the world; see also Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:8; 1 Cor 6:16.

5:32 By mystery Paul means the hidden plan of God that has come to fulfillment in Christ Jesus (see 1:9; 3:3-4, 9; and 6:19), thus his quotation about marriage from Genesis 2 (in Eph. 5:31) ties in to the relationship between Christ and his church. Paul’s meaning is profound: he interprets the original creation of the husband-and-wife union as itself modeled on Christ’s forthcoming union with the church as his “body” (see v. 23). Therefore, marriage from the beginning of creation (Genesis 1) was created by God to be a reflection of and pattern after Christ’s relation to the church. Thus Paul’s commands regarding the roles of husbands and wives do not merely reflect the culture of his day but present God’s ideal for all marriages at all times, as exemplified by the relationship between the bride of Christ (the church) and Christ himself, the Son of God.

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