A Few Thoughts About Christ’s Respect for the Church
I’m writing this article in response to those who teach that husbands are to love their wives but not respect them, and those who teach the wife is to respect her husband. Respect, the way some of these teachers define it, borders on the idea of entitlement. Believe it or not it is rather common. One such book is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. One of many critical reviews can be found here (note, I don’t endorse everything on that website).
Christ is head of the church:
B1 Ephesians 5:23 NIV 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.
B2 Ephesians 1:22 NIV And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,
The church is all believers from Pentecost to the Rapture
B1 Ephesians 1:23 NIV which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
B2 Romans 12:4-5 NLT Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
Christ is the bridegroom, the church is the bride (as understood by most commentators):
B1 Revelation 19:7-8 LEB Let us rejoice and be glad and give him the glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself. 8 And it has been granted to her that she be dressed in bright, clean fine linen (for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints).
B2 2 Corinthians 11:2 NLT For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.
Christ respects his “wife,” the church:
B1 Christ’s style of leadership is to delegate
D1 The husband delegates managing the house to his wife: Proverbs 31:11 NLT Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
E1 The Hebrew word for trust is בָּטַח bâṭach.
E2 It means not to fear, have trust, have confidence in
D2 The wife assesses what needs to be done
D3 The wife delegates what needs to be done to her maids (servants), who do the work: Proverbs 31:15 NLT She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day's work for her servant girls.
D4 The wife goes out of the house to buy land, “makes sure her dealings are profitable,” and “she gives instructions with kindness.”
D5 She overseers the work done in the house: Proverbs 31:27 GW She keeps a close eye on the conduct of her family, and she does not eat the bread of idleness.
D6 She receives the credit for doing her work well: Proverbs 31:31 NLT Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
C2 God delegates
D1 Rule as with Adam & Eve: Genesis 1:26 CSB Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth." (Adam lost this when he sinned. So satan in now the power. The Lord Jesus will finish satan and destroy him totally, then the Lord Jesus will rule the earth from Jerusalem. See Zechariah 14 especially: Zechariah 14:9, 17 NLT And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD—his name alone will be worshiped. ... 17 Any nation in the world that refuses to come to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of Heaven's Armies, will have no rain).
D2 Rule as in human government: Romans 13:1 GW Every person should obey the government in power. No government would exist if it hadn't been established by God. The governments which exist have been put in place by God
D3 Administrators of the congregation: Acts 20:28 NET Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.
D4 All of us for discipling: Ephesians 4:11-13 NET It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God - a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ's full stature.
D5 Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer: Luke 22:42 NIV Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
D6 Remember that God gives us the grace to accomplish what He wants from us: Philippians 2:13 NIV for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
B2 Christ assigns the church to reign. If the Church is the bride, then Jesus gives us the example to follow.
C1 Revelation 20:6 NIV Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
C2 2 Timothy 2:12 NIV if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;
C3 Revelation 5:10 NET You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
B3 Christ treats the wife as He wants to be treated Himself: Matthew 19:19 NIV honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
B4 Christ does not control; He delegates.
One verse, taken out of context, that is a proof text for these types of teachers is Ephesians 5:24 NET But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Knowing all what I wrote above and the critical review, how can this verse mean that the wife must do everything her husband tells us. Remember now, everything.
B1 The Bible understands the meaning of everything to be everything pleasing to God, as God acts, and as lawful. If the husband commands her to sin, she must not obey him.
B2 Christ’s leadership style is not a dictator but a delegator.
B3 The abusive, so-called, Marriage Enrichment type books have it so, so wrong.
B4 Submit in English means: intransitive verb 1a: to yield oneself to the authority or will of another : SURRENDER
B5 In Greek the word is ὑποτάσσω hypotássō. It means to place under: 6. to obey, be subject A Greek military term meaning to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader. In non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.
C1 So the word does NOT mean using force of position, voice, strength, etc.
C2 It carries the meaning of cooperating, taking responsibility, and carrying out our tasks.
Too many teachers leave out the context of Ephesians 5:24. So, here it is: Ephesians 5:21-24 NLT And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. [Emphasis is mine]
We are not to be the dictator, enforcer, bully, abuser, despot, authoritarian, etc.
All marriages are either Christian or controlling. If it is controlling, it is not Christian. If it is Christian, it is not controlling. Some links about this here, here, and All Power and Control Regimes Share the Same Basic Characteristics.
We are to be cooperative, working on problems together, rejoicing together, giving each other advice, respecting each other, loving each other, etc. If there is a final disagreement (a tie), then it is best to seek outside counsel from multiple people, not just one.
God HATES abuse. The wife is often blamed for difficulties in the home.
B1 This is outwardly treats his wife nicely, but in private, it is a totally different thing: Malachi 2:16 ISV “Indeed, the Lord God of Israel says that he hates divorce, along with the one who conceals his violence by outward appearances,” says the Lord of the Heavenly Armies. “So guard yourselves carefully, and don’t be unfaithful.”
B2 God hates abusers: 1 Corinthians 6:910 WEL Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived, for neither fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, active homosexual partners, 10 Thieves, covetous, drunkards, verbal abusers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
B3 God hates harsh treatment of anyone: Colossians 3:19 NLT Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. [Emphasis is mine]
A husband is to respect his wife. Avoid teachers that teach otherwise.
B1 Adam needed help. God created Adam that way. Genesis 2:18 NLT Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him."
B2 Adam needed God’s help.
B3 Adam needed Eve’s help.
B4 A wife is a good counselor. What human knows us better and wishes the best for us. (I do realize some wives are domestic abusers, too). Even if we disagree with them, we need to listen and understand what they are saying. We are not to consider ourselves too worthy to listen to her.
B5 Consider what Eggerichs apparently believes, How should a wife act if she strongly disagrees with her husband about some issue? 1Timothy 2:12 has some advice. Paul writes, “I do not allow a woman to exercise authority over a man but to remain quiet.” (p.220). (Source. Note, I do not have the book. I have not read the book).
B6 God gives our wives (sisters in Christ) spiritual gifts just like the brothers.
C1 Bible verses on gifts
D2 Romans 12
D3 1 Peter 4:10-11 CSB Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God's words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
C2 Proverbs 12:15 LEB The way of a fool is upright in his own eyes, but he who listens to advice is wise.
B7 Decisions are best made in a multitude of counselors. At the beginning, the multitude of counselors are God and Eve.
C1 Proverbs 11:14 NKJV Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
C2 Proverbs 15:22 NKJV 2 Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established.
B6 Read Proverbs 31:10-31 again and note how the husband needed the wife’s help. He could not do everything. He respected her and gave her credit for what she has done, is doing, and will do.
Isaiah 8:20 WEB Turn to the law and to the testimony! If they don’t speak according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.
Acts 17:11 CSB The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Marriage, Marriage counseling, Christian marriage, domestic abuse
A Few Thoughts About Christ’s Respect for the Church