I really love the Bible and God, which is part of why I really like writing this blog, but I just sort of have a problem wITH THAT ONE BIBLE VERSE THAT SAYS GOD HATES WOMEN AND BECAUSE HE THINKS THEY’RE IMBECILES WITH NO POWER.
Just kidding, the verse I’m talking about doesn’t actually say that. However, a lot of people misinterpret this verse in a very wrong, sexist way. It’s Ephesians 5:22.
WAIT. Stop right there. Never read a Bible verse. I want to pause before talking about this verse any longer and stress how important it is to NEVER read A Bible verse. Scriptures have context. You need to read the Scriptures surrounding the verse you’re looking at to get the big picture. Sometimes, a verse is okay standing alone, but quite often, the verses around the verse you’re trying to look at contribute quite a bit to your knowledge of why the verse was written or what the verse was supposed to mean. So scratch what I said because you should read a lot more than Ephesians 5:22. We’re just going to start there.
The verse says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” Yikes, wives are supposed to submit? I’ve heard this taken three ways. There’s the way where people understand the verse and know the context, there’s the way that people take it where they feel that God calls them to be powerless, and then there’s the way where people think God is sexist because the Bible says for women to submit, and not men. I think it’s time for that context, right?
Let’s keep reading; we’ll pick up with Ephesians 5:23-24. “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. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
Okay, well, women are still supposed to submit. I’ve heard this little block of Scriptures plenty of times. I’ve actually had people throw it at me before and tell me that I shouldn’t evangelize and talk to people about Christ because women are supposed to submit to men, so men should be the ones to engage, and the women should stay back. I’ve even heard that you should never discuss theology with your husband because you have to submit to him, and if you disagree or don’t trust that his knowledge is best, then you’re wrong and not submitting. Yikes, right? Then, there are the people who see that kind of talk going down, and they’re out there blasting the Bible for telling women that they’re nothing.
Oh, dear. What a mess. Luckily, sometimes, context is more than a verse or two. We can keep reading and resolve this situation, so let’s do it.
Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Doesn’t that change a lot? This whole passage isn’t about tearing down women. It’s telling a husband and wife how they are supposed to interact with each other. The woman needs to honor and respect her husband, and the husband needs to love his wife just like Christ loved the church. Think about it, Christ DIED for the church, so saying that the husband has to love his wife like Christ loved the church is kind of a HUGE deal. The husband is supposed to love his wife, to make her holy, to take care of her body. What wife wouldn’t want to submit to a husband that keeps her best interest in mind and does these things that are outlined? The husband and the wife are supposed to serve each other. It’s supposed to be mutual.
Isn’t context just great?