Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Myth: “Marriage is meant to be an illustration of Christ’s relationship with the church, so that people are turned to God by seeing husbands in authority and wives in submission.”

The Bible never say marriage is supposed to be an illustration of Christ and the church. Instead, it calls Christ the illustration for marriages. Confused? A similar sentence would be “I never said that you should draw well enough that people who see your pictures should see Da Vinci’s talent in them. I said you could look at Da Vinci’s Last Supper to see an example of how to draw people who interact.”

Marriages should draw two specific examples from Jesus:

a)     From the illustration of Christ and raising the church up from sin to stand alongside Him, righteous, and to reign with Christ, the man (the one with more power and knowledge in a 1st century Ephesian relationship) should get an example of loving and raising up his wife.

Ephesians 5 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…

b)    As the church is subject to the good work Christ does, the wife is subject to her husband:

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. – Eph. 5:24

There is a reason why I used the KJV there. The KJV is kind enough to tell us which words are in there and and which words are added for interpretation. They put the latter in italics. If we take out the words which are not in the original, it is:

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so the wives to their own husbands in every thing. – Eph. 5:24”

The former is a state of being: The church is subject to Jesus. Is a disobedient church subject to Jesus? Yes, because obedient or disobedient, Jesus is still the source of all good things for the church. You would not have to tell a woman from the first century Near East (the culture where Ephesians was written) to be subject to their husbands – they need his money, his standing before the law, etc. Wives are also subject to husbands’ actions in the same way that anyone who share living space are subject to one another: If you share a house, you are subject to one another’s music, their hogging all the warm water during a long shower, their leaving the living room cluttered or neat, etc.

This text does not claim she should worship him the way the church worship Christ, or that he should give up heaven to rescue her. If it is anything like the example of the church, it is true regardless of her actions.

It does not place him in authority: The word “authority” or anything with a similar meaning, is used only once in regards to Christian marriage – where it is said that husbands and wives have equal authority over each other’s bodies. Where Christ is the authority figure of Christians, the husband is most likely not (depending on the symbolic meaning of one disputed word) called the wife’s authority figure by Biblical teaching.

Marriages simply cannot be meant as an illustration of Christ and the church. Firstly, the Bible does not call it that. Secondly, to treat a husband as the church should treat Christ would be idolatry – even the Ephesians 5 passage (verse 21) calls believers to submit to one another, as opposed to one-sided submission.

Comments on: "Myth: “Marriage is meant to be an illustration of Christ’s relationship with the church, so that people are turned to God by seeing husbands in authority and wives in submission.”" (3)

  1. what about christ and the church as in groom and the bride?

    Like

  2. Christopher Becher said:

    Hi, I’ve really enjoyed reading your site. Could you speak to verse 23 of the same passage? Do you interpret “kephale” to mean “source” here? This makes sense with Jesus being our saviour.

    Like

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