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Session 22

Why submit to my husband?

Read: 1 Corinthians 11:1-16

Paul instructs the church at Corinth on what’s proper in a worship service, specific to their culture — i.e. women wearing a head covering. He also makes what’s now a controversial statement, “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Just as Jesus is subject to God, a wife is subject to her husband, and her husband to Jesus.

These teachings weren’t to stifle women in worship or marriage, but to demonstrate the order of authority God created. It’s helpful to remember the Gospel elevates women from the low place they held in the world at that time, and puts them equal to men in worth and value: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

We are equal, but Scripture explains the different roles men and women play. Paul elaborates in Ephesians 5:22-23, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 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.” However, the next passage is crucial to understanding the structure of marriage, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).

Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands, but husbands are commanded to give themselves up for their wives. Jesus died for the Church — that’s how Paul is telling husbands to love their wives. Wives can trust their husband’s authority because they can trust Jesus’ work in him, and husbands can lead their wives well by submitting first to Christ.

Reflect:

  • Husbands: Are you loving your wife the way Jesus loves the Church? What’s one step you need to take today to love and lead her well?
  • Wives: Is there an area of your marriage where you are not respecting your husband, and/or are rebelling against his leadership? Is there anything you need to start or stop doing today to show him respect and trust Jesus’ work in him?
  • Singles: What is one step you can take today to prepare your heart for your role in marriage?

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23

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