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Section IIIC

Working out your Salvation

The Family (2)


Study C2

Husbands and Wives

Study C2 The Family (2)

Husbands and Wives

Wives, submit yourselves to yourselves unto your own husbands as it is fit in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them.

Children obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

Fathers provoke not your children[to anger] lest they be discouraged.

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.


C2.1 Husbands

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;


In God’s order the husband is the head of the household, illustrating the relationship of Christ to the Church.  It is a blessed thing indeed when men behave in the same way to their wives as Christ does to the Church. It is in and of itself a testimony to the world. But a dreadful inditement on any man who misrepresents God in this sphere, it causse the world to blaspheme.

Scripture gives us clear guidance on how the man should behave.

C2.2  Love as Christ loves

The husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. How does Christ love the Church?

Christ laid down His life for the salvation of the Church. He loves us with our best interests at heart, which may not be what we think  they are!  And for His Father’s glory.

That should be the heart of the husband towards his wife: laying down his life for her best interests. After all that is what God’s love does.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

I Cor.13:4-5

This love is the influence that prevents the man using his position as authoritarian. Any decision will be in the interest of his wife (and family) rather than what is best for him alone. And if needs be, he will forego his interests for her sake.

Any decision rests with the man and together with it  the responsibility. His  love for his wife means that any decision will be by mutual consideration and  ideally by mutual consent. If that is not possible then the man must take the responsibility, but in love for all concerned.

However,  whatever the case there must be no resentment, no bitterness by the husband towards  his wife. Whatever the sacrifice involved, the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and as  necessary lay down his life for her.

C2.3 Providing for his own

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

I Tim.5:8

In discussing the position of widows in the assembly Paul makes this bold statement. Clearly talking to the head of the house. It is his responsibility to provide for those of his own household.

As head he has the responsibility not only of leading but also of providing for his own. That provision could be anything. Material needs are the obvious  that springs to mind. But also spiritual needs too. That may take many forms such as leading family devotions, guidance and so on.

Also in this provision would be protection

Any not providing for his own, Paul says has denied the faith! Thus showing that true faith is not cerebral, rather it is  dynamic and works out in the reality of life. To fail in this is dereliction of duty and a denial of the faith!

C2.4  Co-heirs of the grace.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

I Pet.3:7

Although the man is the head, and has responsibilities in terms of provision etc. He is to regard his wife with honour as the weaker vessel. To make allowances for the fact that she may not have the same physical strength, or perhaps not the same pattern of thinking! This is not to patronise the wife but to understand her and live in harmony recognising the differences and act accordingly, but always in the love that Christ had for the Church.

That one is the head, and the other to be in submission, does not alter the fact that man and wife are CO-heirs together. That is equal before God, just with the different roles that God has, in His, wisdom appointed.

C2.5 Wives

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.


As we have already pointed out, it is God’s order that in the household the man the head. Paul in Colossians says that the wife is to submit to her husband. It is now out of fashion to have in the wedding vows: to honour and obey; but modish views must not be our interpreter of God’s Word.

The principal of wives being in submission goes back to the fall, indeed it is a result of it. When sin entered the world by one man’s sin all manner of consequences resulted. The creation was subjected to vanity, Rom.8:20, for one. Why one might ask, and  one possible reply might be: could God have allowed a fallen creature to inhabit a perfect world?

Be that as it may, the fact is that in the curse that followed the woman was to bare children in sorrow, and desire to have her husband to be over her. In this fallen world this is God’s order. It is this that Paul emphasises, it is not because he was misogynistic, as some would accuse him of, rather  he is simply being consistent with the already revealed truth of scripture.

C2.6 Obedience

The injunction in the parallel passage in Ephesians tells us that the wives are to obey in every thing. However this has to be looked at in context  with the rest of scripture. We are told that we should be subject and obedient to the civil powers, Rom.13:1-3. Yet throughout scripture we see, on occasions, men of God disobeying the civil powers. Daniel and the three Hebrew men for example. In Acts, the Apostles were forbidden to preach the gospel. What did they do?

Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:28-29

We therefore have the underlying principle, we obey those above us unless it conflicts with God’s command. Therefore the same applies with wives. They are to submit to their husbands unless it something that is contrary to scripture, and  with Rom.14 in mind it also means her conscientious before God.

Such issues should be extremely rare, if at all,  whose husbands are Christians, but they would be more of an issue with non believing spouses. Paul has a lot to say on this particular issue in I Cor.7.

More could be said on these issues, but we will leave it with Peter’s inspired teaching.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;  While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.  For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:  Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

I Pet.3:1-7