Gods Blueprint For Wives
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
In the early years of my marriage, we purchased and assembled our own storage cabinet from Sears. When I got it home I tore open the box, laid out the pieces on the floor and began to assemble the cabinet. My dear wife sweetly said, "dont you think you should look at the directions first?" I responded something to the effect, "No, it looks like a piece of cake." After all I had a toolbox filled with Craftsman tools and I had worked in a machine shop.
Well, I have to tell you that I got that cabinet 80% done. I was so proud of my self! I was just a hair breath from gloating. And then I came to the realization that try as I might, I could not get the main shelf into the cabinet. I tried everything. I pulled. I stuck my tongue out. I grunted and tried to force it into place. What was I going to do. It just would not fit. But the worst part for me was that I, a gifted and talented new husband with mechanical ability, was going to have to "eat crow" and admit to my wife that...SHE WAS RIGHT! I should have looked at the directions first!
I swallowed hard, forced a smile and said, "I guess I am going to have to take a look at those directions. I cant figure out how to get this stupid shelf in."
That was my wifes golden opportunity. She could have said, "I told you so." But, she resisted the temptation and offered to read the directions to me. As it turned out, I had to tear the cabinet apart and go back to nearly the first step. Today, every time I go down to the family room I see that cabinet. It stands as a reminder to me that it is important to follow the instructions.
The truth is that many marriages are in trouble today because the couple goes about their marriage just like I was going about trying to put the cabinet together. They figure that they are intelligent people and besides they love each other so they try to put their marriage together the way they think it should fit. But, they soon find out that it is not fitting together like it should. Confusion, and frustration set in and before you know it all the joy is gone. So what should you do? God has provided specific instructions on how a marriage is to work! God has revealed specific information and direction concerning the purpose of marriage and the varying but complementary responsibilities of the two people who form the marriage. God has given certain responsibilities to the wife and certain responsibilities to the husband. When two people know, accept, and fulfill their varying but complementary responsibilities, oneness in marriage is promoted. But, when the husband and wife either do not understand or will not fulfill their God-given responsibilities, great confusion and frustration is the result. What I am saying is follow the instructions God has given!
We have previously considered the husband's responsibility to his wife; 1) He is to love his wife 2) He is to lead his wife. This is Gods will for each husband. In this chapter, we are going to focus on the wifes responsibility to her husband.
1. She is to submit to her husband
Let's focus on the first point
1. A Wife Is Responsible To Submit To Her Husband
While the idea of the wife's submission to her husband is not a very popular one in our day, it is Gods will that a wife submit to her husband. The womans liberation movement has gone to great lengths to undermine the Biblical truths of the role of the wife in marriage. There is a great deal of antagonism to wifely submission that has arisen even in Christian circles because many Christian women have adopted the rebellious attitudes and accepted the teachings of the modern womans movement concerning their role in the home. To follow the world in this matter is nothing less than rebellion against God. Todays family problems stem from husbands and wives who refuse to follow God's instructions.
The key passage that deals with submission is
Ephesians 5:22-24 & 33 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
The Greek word translated submit in verse 22 & subject in verse 24 is from the word upotassesqe (hoop-ot-as'-so; 5293). It means 1) to arrange under, to subordinate 2) to subject, put in subjection 3) to subject one's self, obey 4) to submit to one's control 5) to yield to one's admonition or advice 6) to obey, be subject. The word is a Greek military term meaning "to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".
That brings me to the word reverence in verse 33. It is the Greek word fobhtai (fob-eh'-o; 5399) to fear; to be afraid; to treat with deference or reverential obedience.
It is interesting to see how Bible translators have translated this verse
"the wife dread her husband."
1557 Geneva Bible
16ll King James Version
Now, I know someone is thinking, "Pastor, are you saying that a wife should be afraid of her husband?" Let me make myself clear. A wife should continually treat her husband with deference and reverential obedience. Indeed she should be fearful not to submit to him for as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (24). Simply stated, every wife will give account to Christ as to how she submitted to her husband. That is why she should be afraid not to obey her husband.
Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit (5293) yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit (proper) in the Lord.
Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient (5293) to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection (5293) to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear (5401, same root as 5399). 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection (5293) unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
A Christian wife cannot be a Godly wife if she does not submit to her husband. But, what do you do if your husband is unsaved or if your husband is a Christian but out of fellowship with God? The answer is the same. You submit to your husband. In fact, in the above verse there is a special promise to those who submit to ungoldy or rebellious husbands.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe says this about verse 6.
Henry Alford comments in his Commentary on the New Testament, "As long as the believing wives are doing good, they need not be afraid with any sudden terror of the account which unbelieving husbands may exact from them."
I do however want to point out this important fact. If a husband would direct the wife to do something that the Bible forbids, such things as murdering, stealing, participating in sexual activity outside the marriage bond, etc., then Acts 5:29 comes into play -- Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Gods Will For Every Wife Is That She Submit To Her Husband!
WHAT SUBMISSION DOES NOT MEAN
The definition of a slave is, "a human being who is owned by and absolutely subject to another human being, as by capture, purchase, or birth." A husband does not own his wife! She is not his possession. She is his companion, completer, compliment, helper and assistant. The Bible never describes a wife as a slave but rather one that the husband is to be joined or cleave to. Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (Mat. 19:5 - cleave). Any husband who treats his wife as "his property" or as a slave is in trouble with God! That is NOT how a wife is to be treated. Husbands, we are to cherish our wives!
In reality, submission frees the wife to function within the parameters of the husband's direction. Submission frees the wife to become all that God intends her to become.
Let me ask you a question. "Was Jesus Christ inferior to Mary and Joseph?" The answer to that is most certainly "NO!" But, turn to Luke 2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. Though Christ was not inferior to Mary and Joseph, he submitted to them. But there is more. Christ also submitted to his Heavenly Father and yet Jesus Christ was in no way inferior to God the Father. He was and is fully and completely God, in every sense (Colossians 2:9). Yet the Scripture asserts that there is order and structure in the Trinity. Jesus said, I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:30. The apostle Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Again, this certainly does not imply that Christ is inferior to God the Father. Rather it teaches that there is a division of labor and responsibility in the Trinity. In like fashion, the submission of the wife in no way implies inferiority. Instead, it teaches the necessity for order and structure, for a division of responsibility within the home. God has chosen the husband to be the loving leader in the home. He has chosen the wife to be in the support role in the home, not the slave. In fact, I also turn your attention to the fact that husbands are to honor their wives! Honor means to consider very valuable or precious. 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
One additional thought before I move on. When it comes to your spiritual relationship with God there is no division of responsibility, men and women are equal. Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. The ground is level at the Cross!
Some people have mistakenly interpreted 1 Peter 3:4 "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit" to say that a woman is to keep her mouth shut and may not express her opinion or offer advice in the context of the family relationship. While women are to be silent in the preaching and teaching roles over men in the church, though they may teach children (1 Timothy 2:11-14), this does not apply to the home. When a wife expresses herself in the home it is to be with a meek and quiet spirit. The word meek is the Greek word praeoV (prah-ooce' 4239) which means mild or gentle. The word quiet is the translation of the Greek word hsuciou (hay-soo'-khee-os; 2272) which means to keep your seat, to be tranquil, peaceful or undisturbed by outward circumstances. Therefore, this is not an injunction to keep silent, rather, when she does express herself it is in a gentle, tranquil way not in a bold, assertive, brassy, loud way. In fact, Proverbs 15:1 wonderfully contrasts the right way and the wrong way for a wife (or anyone) to express herself -- A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. There is an additional verse I want to point out before I go on. Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Indeed a wife will offer advice properly and a wise husband will listen and carefully weigh what she has to say.
Proverbs 31:10-31 is Gods example of a Biblical wife. Even a quick reading shows that this woman made full use of the talents and abilities God gave her.
WHAT SUBMISSION DOES MEAN
Nowhere is the husband commanded to physically force his wife into submission. Rather, the wife is commanded to make herself submissive.
(See Ephesians 5:22 & 1 Peter 3:1)
The Greek verb in most passages about submission is in the present tense. Therefore, submission is to be the continuous life style of the wife. (See Ephesians 5:22 & 1 Peter 3:1 )
The Greek verb is in the imperative mood. (Compare Ephesians 5:21, 22 and I Peter 3:1) Her submission is not to be based upon the way her husband treats her. Nor is it to be conditioned by the husband's abilities, talents, wisdom, education, or spiritual state. (I Peter 3:1)
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Refusal to submit to the husband is therefore rebellion against God Himself. Submission to the husband is a test of her love for God as well as a test of love for her husband. The wife then must look upon her submission to her husband as an act of obedience to Christ and not merely to her husband. Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15), and one of his commands to wives is, "submit yourselves unto your own husbands"
It emphasizes what the wife should do, rather than what she should not do. Submission means that the wife puts all of her talents, abilities, resources, energy at her husband's disposal. Submission means that the wife yields and uses all of her abilities under the management of her husband for the good of her husband and family. Submission means that she sees herself as a part of her husband's team. She is not her husband's opponent fighting at cross purposes or trying to outdo him. She is not merely an individual going her separate way. She is her husband's teammate striving for the same goal. She has ideas, opinions, desires, requests, and insights, and she lovingly makes them known. But she knows that on any good team, someone has to make the final decisions and plans. She knows that the team members must support the team leader, his plans and decisions, or no progress will be made, and confusion and frustration will result.
Jesus Christ was thoroughly submitted to the Father. Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. (John 4:34). But how did He serve the Father? He served the Father with gladness. He delighted to do the Father's will (Psalm 40:7, 8). Likewise, the wife's submission to her husband is to be cheerful, not servile or grudging. Scripture declares that God's kind of wife worketh willingly with her hands. (Prov. 31:13), finding great satisfaction in using all of her God-given resources to fulfill the needs of her husband and family.
She is to be subject unto her husband as the church is to Christ (Eph. 5:24). And how broad should the submission of the church be to Christ? Well, the submission of the church to Christ is to be total; it is to be comprehensive. Christ is the head over all things to the church, (Eph. 1:22), and the church is to do whatever it does in word or deed in the name of the Lord Jesus, in total dependence upon His person, acknowledging and recognizing Him in all its ways, doing all for His honor and glory (Col. 3:17; Prov. 3:5, 6; I Cor. 10:31). In like fashion Paul says, wives are to be subject to their husbands in "every thing." Submission is not to be an on-again off-again matter for the wife. Nor is it to be a selective, choose what you like, reject what you do not like proposition. Submission is to be her life style at all times, in all places, and in everything. Certainly this does not mean that she must obey her husband when he commands her to do what God forbids or tries to keep her from doing what God commands. She is to be subject to her husband "as is fitting in the Lord" (Col. 3:18). A wife's submission to her husband then is to be extensive, but not necessarily total or unlimited. She is to obey him in everything except that which contradicts the Word of God. And even then she is to disobey in a loving, submissive fashion, explaining calmly and clearly her reasons for disobedience, assuring her husband of her love and loyalty, and seeking to demonstrate that love and loyalty in a variety of continuous and tangible ways. She is to be her husband's helper (Gen. 2:18), and this she can never be if she manifests a contentious, inconsiderate, uncooperative spirit.
Gods Will For Every Wife Is That She Submit To Her Husband & Reverence Him!
Tangible Ways You Can Reverence Your Husband
Do not speak to your husband sarcastically or in a condescending manner (Proverbs 21:19)
Dont contradict him in front of others (Proverbs 31:12)
Dont talk for your husband or interrupt him when he is speaking (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
Treat your husband in private as respectfully as you do your pastor, neighbor, or friend in public (1 Peter 2:17)
Do not bring up his shortcomings to others (Proverbs 31:23)
Do not compare your husband unfavorably with other men (Philippians 4:11)
Listen to his opinion carefully and try to understand him (James 1:19)
Respect his requests by trying to do as he asks, even if it does not seem important to you (Ephesians 5:24)
Respect his position in the home so that he can depend on you to do as he asks even when he is not there (Proverbs 31:11)
Do not nag, pester or quarrel with him about things you want done, but tactfully appeal to him (Proverbs 27:15)
Rearrange your schedule so that you are available to spend time with him and meet his needs (Titus 2:4)
Do not try to manipulate or bully him by making a threat, whining, crying or withholding marital privileges (Proverbs 25:24; 1 Corinthians 7:4-7)
Praise him for his good character qualities (Proverbs 14:1)
Admit it when you are wrong (James 5:16)
Show a grateful spirit by letting him know you appreciate him and the things he provides (Colossians 3:15)
Gods Will For Every Wife Is That She Reverence Her Husband!
Lets move on to the Wifes Second Key Responsibility To Her Husband
An honest examination of the Scriptures leads to the conclusion that the wife's primary ministry in life is her husband. The first indication we have of this is found in Genesis 2:18-22. This passage reveals several important details about the wifes relationship to her husband.
It is important for men to see that without the woman, man, even in his perfect condition, was incomplete.
None of the animals could provide the kind of help that man needed. Only woman could do that. Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Proverbs 31:10-11 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She is similar to man, yet somewhat different. She is man's complement, not his carbon copy. She is to man what a key is to a lock and what a film is to a cameraindispensable. 1 Corinthians 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
It is clear from the Bible, that the wife was made to fulfill the needs, the lacks, and the inadequacies of her husband. She was made to be her husband's unique helper. She is to "do him good and not evil all the days of her life" (Proverbs 31:12). She is to be like a fruitful vine in her husband's house (Psalm 128:3). She is to be "one flesh" with her husband, and this will happen only as she accepts and fulfills her God-appointed role in marriage.
This does not mean that everything she does must have a direct connection to her husband. Nor does it mean that she should never do anything for her own benefit or for the benefit of others, or that she should never become involved in activities or ministries outside the home. But, it does mean, however, that she ought never to do anything which would be detrimental or harmful to her husband or that would cause her to neglect her primary ministry of helping her husband (Prov. 31: 10-31).
Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. The word love in this verse is Strongs #5362 which means to be affectionate to your husband, to be your husbands affectionate companion.
Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
The main focus of a wife is not to be her career, but her husband, home and children. The home should be a place of comfort and refuge. Avoid the danger of allowing the home to be in shambles and full of disorder and confusion. But also avoid the danger of making the house a show place where everything must always be neat and immaculate. Most husbands want homes to live in, not a show place to visit.
Proverbs 31:11-12 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:26-28 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to love their children. The word "love" means to be fond of, therefore to be fond of your children or maternal.
1 Timothy 5:13-14 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. The phrase "guide the house" is but one Greek word, Strongs #3616 which means one who manages domestic affairs or the home.
Philippians 4:6-13 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
God's Will For Every Wife Is: