Biblical Teaching Of Submission In Marriage (Ephesians 5: 22-33 And 1 Peter 3:1-7)

Submission in Marriage

What Is Scriptural View On Submission in Marriage According To Ephesians 5: 22-33 And 1 Peter 3:1-7

My attention was drawn to an interesting question and I’ve seen many ask this question especially when you are dealing with the issue of submission in marriage. So I decided to give a respond as I think it will help many who are willing to follow the ways of God.

Why did you skip Eph 5:21 as you taught the subject of submission in marriage?

Contextual Flow Of Thought in Book of Ephesians from Chapters 1-6

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭KJV‬‬
[21] submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

If you study the book of Ephesians, you will notice that the book is divided into two broad parts;
* Part 1; chapter 1-3 Speaks of the scope and implications of the works of Christ
* Part 2; Chapter 4-6 Speaks of how the finished works of Christ applies to our lives or our responsibilities as believers  in light of the finished works of Christ.

Now the second part of the book which is the place of interest has it’s broad categorization;

Chapter 4
Vs 1-7 Our coperate responsibility towards the unity of the body
Vs 8-16 Our coperate responsibility towards maturity and perfecting of the body
Vs 17-32 Sanctification and purification

Chapter 5
Vs 1-14 Sanctification and holy living
Vs 15-21 Urgency and productive kingdom service
Vs 22-33 Instructions to wives and husbands

Chapter 6
Vs 1-4 Instructions for children and parents
Vs 5-9 Instructions to slaves and masters
Vs 10-18 Instructions to the church concerning spiritual warfare
Vs 19-20 Soliciting for intercession
Vs 21-23 Salutations.

Interpreting the bible in context shows that Eph 5:21 in not an instruction to husbands and wives but for the church. We all have someone we submit to in the body, even the Pope has a biological Christian Father he submits to.

If you drag Eph 5:21 into the context of Vs 22-33 which is where the instructions for husbands and wives is taught because you want husbands to submit to their wives, it will bring about a huge contradiction. This is because, in instructing husbands and wives, Apostle Paul used the relationship between Christ and the church to explain the relationship between husbands and wives with the husband representing Christ and the wife representing the church.

The questions you will now be left to answer are:

If the husband represent Christ and Christ is not submitted to the church, why should the husband be submitted to his wife?

We must be careful:
Not to read our mind into the bible, but rather read the bible into our minds.
Not to try to transform the bible, but allow the bible to transform us.

Again for clarity sake:
Marriage is an institution in the body of Christ with specific rules of engagement.

* The husband is defined as the Head and the wife the body.

* The husband is commanded to sacrifice for his wife as Christ sacrificed for the church and the wife is commanded to submit to her husband as the Church is submitted to Christ.

* The husband and wife are equal in essence as heirs of salvation (1 Pet 3:7) but are not equal in authority in marriage (Eph 5:22-23).

* The husband is commanded to provide for his household 1 Tim 5:8.
If the wife chooses to support him that’s her choice not a commandment.

* The husband must relate with his wife with understanding as the weaker vessel etc.

It’s important for us to note that Apostle Paul using the relationship between Christ and the church to explain marriage, is indicative of the fact that he expects every true Christian to understand that sacred relationship. If a Christian therefore argues this matter, especially out of context, it simply implies that, the Christian in question does not really understand the relationship between Christ and the Church. That person’s problems primarily therefore is not the demands of love or submission, his or her problem is first of all not knowing who a Christian really is.

We must be careful not to allow either African or Western culture influence us over and above the word of God.


Importance of Submission In Marriage

  1. Family unity
  2. Model or pattern for others to learn from
  3. God’s bless flow
  4. Joy and respect is experienced
  5. orderliness and responsibilities are undertaken
  6. And several others