Friday, March 06, 2009

Ephesians 5:21-22--Women and Men

The ESV Online Study Bible is available in March 2009 without cost. Here's why I won't be recommending it.

Principles of Marriage
Scripture Reference
Marriage is part of the “mystery” of God's willEph. 1:9; 3:3; 5:32
Paul's instructions are directed to Spirit-filled believersEph. 5:18
Wives are called to submit, men are called to loveEph. 5:21–33
Headship entails authorityEph. 5:23–24 (cf. Eph. 1:22; 4:15)
Submission is still required of Christian wivesEph. 5:22; Col. 3:18 (cf. Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:3)
Marriage involves spiritual warfare, which requires husbands and wives to put on the full armor of GodEph. 6:10–18

Ephesians 5:21 (KJV) actually speaks of mutual submission: "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." The section begins with a reference to fear of God and it ends in 5:33 with the verbal form of fear or respect. 5:22 should be rendered by an ellipsis: "Wives...to your own husbands as to the Lord" since the verb is absent from the Greek text.

Anyone who wants a broader discussion could look at Carolyn Osiek's A Woman's Place: house churches in Earliest Christianity (2005 Fortress), chapter 6, "Ephesians 5 and the Politics of Marriage" which sets this passage in the broader context of women's role in managing house churches and the entire letter to the Ephesians. Here's a review of the book from RBL.

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