The so called ninth worst Bible passage may take us down a road that will likely separate the men from the boys – or should I say the women from the girls? Many of you may simply refuse to agree with the meaning, the interpretation, or perhaps the authority of scripture all together after reading this. I for one am excited that Ephesians 5:22 was included in the top ten worst; “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.” Why am I excited? Because it presents a different challenge than all the rest. The other verses were more or less singled out because the people that chose them were obviously too lazy to use critical reasoning skills, analytical thought processes, or because they simply dislike the Bible regardless of its potential truth. But Ephesians 5:22 was chosen not because it was misinterpreted, but because it’s oh so hard to stomach. And rightly so. The interpretation is clear, and yes, the implications do not fit into our modern day cultural revolution whatsoever. If it did, our world would not be in such a bad state of affairs (pardon the pun).
First and foremost this passage is talking to Christians. If you’re not a Christian go and follow your heart or some other text, law, or whatever it is you choose. Treat your wife, husband, and all your relationships according to any set of rules you choose or create. As for Christians, the Bible is our authority. Therefore there are three people involved in this relationship: the man, the woman, and God. Let’s examine all three personalities.
The man as husband. According to the Bible the man is supposed to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Do I need to say more? Christ gave His life for the church. So let’s not waste any more time and move on to the next personality; the woman as wife.
If you, as a Christian woman choose wisely, a man who loves you so much that he would give his very life for you, love you despite how bad you may treat him, in essence, love you as much as Christ loves you, would you not be willing to submit to his authority? Let’s assume you decide to submit. What would be the implications for submission? To agree to everything he says and does. No. To bow to him every time he enters a room? No. To cook meals every day and spoon feed him? No. So what does submission mean? It means that there should be a leader in the household. It doesn’t mean the woman does not counsel, communicate, and interact with decisions, but it does mean there is a leader. This relationship should be defined according to the third personality participating in the relationship; God.
Again, if you don’t believe in God, or the Holy Bible as His inspired Word then all of this is moot. However, if you have submitted to the authority of God and His word you will find a relationship where the man loves the woman as Christ loved the church, and a woman who submits to this man, to be lasting and rewarding. Most statistics say that more Christians get divorced than nonbelievers. Understandable since practically everyone in America calls themselves Christian but most rarely (if ever) crack a Bible or step into a church before or after the Christmas holiday. The most recent statistics on marriage dissect the variables a little more scientifically and reflect these comments from Brad Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia: “Wilcox’s analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households has found that Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35% less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.” Source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-14-divorce-christians_N.htm
Since I’m not married or a woman, I thought I might ask a married woman who does read the Bible daily, attend church regularly, and considers herself to be a born-again evangelical Christian to write her own analysis in regards to this verse. The Ninth Worst Bible Passage: A Comfort to Wives (A woman’s perspective). Also, for even more reading on the subject, here is a most excellent article by Pastor Steven J. Cole. http://www.fcfonline.org/content/1/sermons/081008M.pdf