Ephesians 5:32

As the duties of wives are comprehended in the single duty of subjection, the duties of husbands are comprehended in the single duty of love. The injunction is significantly repeated three times, as if to indicate that it was essentially needed to correct or qualify his sense of sovereignty or superiority over her. Consider three points.


1. It is peculiar in its nature, unlike the love of parent or child, friend or neighbor. "He is to love his wife even as himself."

2. It is single, exclusive, and undivided in its object; for the husband is to devote to his one wife all the affection of his life. "Rejoice with the wife of thy youth" (Proverbs 5:18, 19). This fact is the condemnation of bigamy and polygamy.

3. It is to be considerate and tender, excluding all bitterness. "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Colossians 3:19). Husbands are "to dwell with their wives according to knowledge" (1 Peter 3:7); that is, with a due consideration to their condition as "the weaker vessel," and with a disposition to hide or bear with their weaknesses or infirmities. It is to be a love that will make it unnecessary for the husband ever to command his wife. The gospel counterpart of "Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands," is not "Husbands, command our wives." but "love your wives."

4. It is to be mutual. The wife's love is presupposed, though elsewhere it is expressly commanded (Titus 2:4). The husband is to love her as she loves him. The rightful confidence and sympathy of married life are impossible without mutual affection. All marriages of convenience or self-interest are thus condemned. Love must be the basis of marriage.

5. It is to be constant and lasting, notwithstanding all the weaknesses or failings of the wife.


1. In providing for the temporal support of a wife. The husband is to "nourish and cherish" his wife. He that provideth not for his own is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:3).

2. He must consult her happiness and pleasure; for "he that is married is to care that he may please his wife" (1 Corinthians 7:33).

3. He must protect her life, her honor, her good name; for she is "the weaker vessel." He must "give honor to the wife" (1 Peter 3:7).

4. He is to seek her spiritual welfare. He is to pray for her and with her, remembering that she is an heir with him of the grace of life, "that your prayers be not hindered."


1. The original law of marriage. "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the twain shall become one flesh." The union implies such an identification of interest, property, and relationship to the world as to make them almost one person.

2. The wife is the husband's other self. She is not only one flesh with himself, but she is his very body. "No man ever yet hated his own flesh," except the fanatics of ascetic devotion.

3. The help, comfort, and blessing she brings to him. She is given to him as "an helpmeet;" she is his companion. "Yet she is thy companion and the wife of thy covenant" (Malachi 2:14). The heart of the husband "safely trusts in her" (Proverbs 12:4).

4. She is the weaker vessel. A spirit of chivalry ought to surround her with the shield of protecting love.

5. She is "the glory of the man (1 Corinthians 11:7) - his honor and ornament and delight.

6. His union with her is typical of the blessed union that exists between Christ and the Church. All the love and self-sacrifice and service Which Christ expended upon the Church supply the type of a husband's duty to his wife. - T.C.

This is a great mystery.
It is in a discourse upon marriage that the apostle introduces these remarkable words; but it is unnecessary that we connect them with the original context; they may be detached from it and treated by themselves as containing a great and interesting truth. Just observe. The Apostle Paul is brought to acknowledge that something which he had just been announcing was very mysterious; he does not attempt to deny or explain away the mystery; he leaves it in all its greatness, and in all its obscurity; but then he adds, "I speak concerning Christ and the Church." As much as to say, "There is no reason for any surprise at there being mystery. When discourse turns on such subjects as Christ and the Church, mystery is to be expected, mystery is not to be avoided." Here, then, opens before us a great and important subject of discourse. Do men object to us that there are mysterious things bard to be understood in Christianity? What course are we to take with these objectors? Are we to extenuate the mysteries, and try to make them seem less, as though we were ashamed of them, and felt that the gospel would be improved by their absence? Not so. We ought rather to glory in confessing and proclaiming them, considering it a sufficient answer to every objection that we are speaking "concerning Christ and the Church." It is not for us to make Scripture less mysterious than the Almighty has made it.

I. Look, for instance, at Christ as born of a pure virgin in a stable at Bethlehem. The incarnation of the Son of God is not one of those facts which lose their mysteriousness through being examined and pondered. Familiarity may indeed make us less alive to its wonders; but the more we consider, the more must we be amazed.

II. But the apostle mentions the Church as well as Christ, and forasmuch as it is the union between Christ and the Church as typified by marriage which led him to express himself in the words of our text, we must briefly see whether there be not mystery — mystery to be thankfully acknowledged, not timidly concealed — in regard to true believers as well as their Divine Lord. Indeed there is mystery. That through such a system as the Christian there should be produced in believers that holiness without which there can be nothing of the oneness between Christ and the Church which marriage supposes — this indeed seems hardly to have been expected, and is not easily to be explained. We are nowise surprised that there should be so vehement an outcry as to the probable tendencies of the gospel; that those who preach as the alone mode of salvation the resting wholly on the merits of another, should often be regarded as advancing a tenet which strikes at the root of all moral energy. Now, in conclusion, we trust that you will thoroughly understand under what point of view the mysteries of the Bible should be regarded by the Christian. These mysteries are not to be shrunk from or concealed, as though Christianity would be the better for their removal; they should rather be gloried in and thankfully acknowledged, as though Christianity would fall to bits if they were taken away. It is the tone which we admire in our text, the frankness of the confession, the avoidance of all controversy. "This is a great mystery." "I do not attempt to deny it," says the apostle; "I do not wish to evade it. How can there be other than mystery when I am speaking 'concerning Christ and the Church'?" But, my brethren, what is mystery now may not be mystery always. "Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now we know in part, but then we shall know, even as also we are known." It must be that with our present imperfect faculties and limited capacities we are incompetent to the understanding much of the revelation which God has given us of Himself, but we shall understand more hereafter if we persevere to the end in fighting the good fight of faith.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Baxendale's Anecdotes.
There is a story in Fox's Book of Martyrs of a woman who, when she came to be tried for her religion before the bishop, was threatened by him that he would take away her husband from her. "Christ," was her reply, "is my husband." "I will take away thy child," said he. "Christ," said she, "is better to me than ten sons." "I will strip thee," said he, "of all outward comforts." And again came the answer, "Yes, but Christ is mine, and you cannot strip me of Him."

(Baxendale's Anecdotes.)

Every blessing of Christianity springs from the union between the Son of God and mankind. This union was inaugurated when God took human nature and thus made it His own, when He became flesh for us, and dwelt among us; and it is continued in His intimate union with the Church, which is His body. It is by this union that Christ confers all graces.

1. In His union with the Church God gives Himself to men, and men give themselves to God. Matrimony should correspond with this idea (Genesis 2:24).

2. In the relations between Christ and the Church we admire perfect unity. This ought also to characterize Christian matrimony.

3. Unity involves indissolubility (Matthew 19:6).

4. Another consequence of unity is the reconciliation of authority and obedience.

5. Forbearance. Christ bears patiently all our imperfections, infirmities, and sins. In a similar manner married people should bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ; as the members of the same body bear the infirmities of one another.

6. The objects to be attained by the union of Christ and His Church are the honour of God and the sanctification of men. The objects of matrimony are the same — the honour of God, the sanctification of the married couple, of the family, and of others who see their good works.

(Bishop W. E. Ketteler).

The true Church of Christ is in intimate union with Christ Himself. It is indissolubly joined unto Him, vitally connected with Him, and, I must add, it is altogether His possession, His servant. When it is in sound and healthy condition, it is in profound and active sympathy with Christ in all His purposes and works; and when it appears in all its beauty and grace, it is in full conformity to the mind of Christ.

I. THE MUTUAL LOVE OF THE CHURCH. This is the grand characteristic of believers: love in active exercise, love expressed in word and deed. In order to love, there must be knowledge or acquaintance.

II. THE WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH. The seat of worship is the heart. And the believer cannot neglect the exercise of private or secret worship. Then, those whom God has set in families should have a home altar, around which morning and evening the whole household should gather. As to the worship of God's house, it is your privilege to be partakers of it, and you are under a solemn obligation to observe the ordinances of the sanctuary.

III. THE WORK OF THE CHURCH. This work is two-fold — edifying believers, and converting sinners.



(A. G. Maitland, M. A.)

Dr. Payson, meeting an irreligious lady whose husband was trying to serve God, addressed her thus: "Madam, I think your husband is looking upwards — making some effort to rise above the world towards God and heaven. You must not let him try alone. Whenever I see the husband struggling alone in such efforts, it makes me think of a dove endeavouring to fly upwards while it has one broken wing. It leaps and flutters, and perhaps rises a little way; and then it becomes wearied, and drops back again to the ground. If both wings cooperate, then it mounts easily."

It is related in the life of William Hutton that a countrywoman called upon him one day, and told him that her husband behaved unkindly to her, and sought other company, often passing his evenings from home, which made her feel very unhappy; and, knowing Mr. Hutton to be a wise man, she thought he might be able to tell her how she should manage to cure her husband. "The remedy is a simple one," said he; "but I have never known it to fail. Always treat your husband with a smile." The woman expressed her thanks, dropped a courtesy, and went away. A few months afterwards she waited on Mr. Hutton with a couple of fine fowls, which she begged him to accept. She told him, while a tear of joy and gratitude glistened in her eye, that she had followed his advice, and her husband was cured. He no longer sought she company of others, but treated her with constant love and kindness.

Christians, Ephesians, Paul
Assembly, Christ, Church, Hitherto, Kept, Mean, Mystery, Profound, Reference, Refers, Regard, Saying, Secret, Speak, Speaking, Talking, Truth
1. After general exhortations to love;
3. to flee sexual immorality;
4. and all uncleanness;
7. not to converse with the wicked;
15. to walk carefully;
18. and to be filled with the Spirit;
22. he descends to the particular duties, how wives ought to obey their husbands;
25. and husbands ought to love their wives,
32. even as Christ does his church.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ephesians 5:21-33

     5959   submission

Ephesians 5:22-33

     5504   rights
     5714   men
     5744   wife

Ephesians 5:25-33

     5702   husband

Ephesians 5:30-32

     1680   types

Ephesians 5:31-32

     5729   one flesh
     6243   adultery, spiritual

Ephesians 5:31-33

     5717   monogamy
     5735   sexuality

January 1. "Redeeming the Time" (Eph. v. 16).
"Redeeming the time" (Eph. v. 16). Two little words are found in the Greek version here. They are translated "ton kairon" in the revised version, "Buying up for yourselves the opportunity." The two words ton kairon mean, literally, the opportunity. They do not refer to time in general, but to a special point of time, a juncture, a crisis, a moment full of possibilities and quickly passing by, which we must seize and make the best of before it has passed away. It is intimated that there are not
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

June 27. "Be Filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18).
"Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18). Some of the effects of being filled with the Spirit are: 1. Holiness of heart and life. This is not the perfection of the human nature, but the holiness of the divine nature dwelling within. 2. Fulness of joy so that the heart is constantly radiant. This does not depend on circumstances, but fills the spirit with holy laughter in the midst of the most trying surroundings. 3. Fulness of wisdom, light and knowledge, causing us to see things as He sees them.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

April 22. "Christ is the Head" (Eph. v. 23).
"Christ is the head" (Eph. v. 23). Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united. The sailor was right when he saw the little boy fall overboard and waited a minute before he plunged to his rescue. When the distracted mother asked him in agony why he had waited so long, he sensibly replied:
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Third Sunday in Lent
Text: Ephesians 5, 1-9. 1 Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity the Careful Walk of the Christian.
Text: Ephesians 5, 15-21. 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk [See then that ye walk circumspectly], not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

God's Imitators
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children'--Eph. v. 1. The Revised Version gives a more literal and more energetic rendering of this verse by reading, 'Be ye, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children.' It is the only place in the Bible where that bold word 'imitate' is applied to the Christian relation to God. But, though the expression is unique, the idea underlies the whole teaching of the New Testament on the subject of Christian character and conduct. To be like God, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Pleasing Christ
'Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.'--Eph. v. 10. These words are closely connected with those which precede them in the 8th verse--'Walk as children of light.' They further explain the mode by which that commandment is to be fulfilled. They who, as children of light, mindful of their obligations and penetrated by its brightness, seek to conform their active life to the light to which they belong, are to do so by making experiment of, or investigating and determining, what is 'acceptable
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Unfruitful Works of Darkness
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.'--Eph. v. 11. We have seen in a former sermon that 'the fruit,' or outcome, 'of the Light' is a comprehensive perfection, consisting in all sorts and degrees of goodness and righteousness and truth. Therefore, the commandment, 'Walk as children of the light,' sums up all Christian morality. Is there need, then, for any additional precept? Yes; for Christian people do not live in an empty world. If there were
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Sleepers at Noonday
'Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,'--Eph. v. 14. This is the close of a short digression about 'light.' The 'wherefore' at the beginning of my text seems to refer to the whole of the verses that deal with that subject. It is as if the Apostle had said, 'I have been telling you about light and its blessed effects. Now I tell you how you may win it for yours. The condition on which it is to be received by men is that they awake
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

What Children of Light Should Be
'Walk as children of light.'--Eph. v. 8. It was our Lord who coined this great name for His disciples. Paul's use of it is probably a reminiscence of the Master's, and so is a hint of the existence of the same teachings as we now find in the existing Gospels, long before their day. Jesus Christ said, 'Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light'; and Paul gives substantially the same account of the way by which a man becomes a Son of the Light when he says, in the words preceding
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Fruit of the Light
'The fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.'--Eph. v. 9 (R.V.). This is one of the cases in which the Revised Version has done service by giving currency to an unmistakably accurate and improved reading. That which stands in our Authorised Version, 'the fruit of the Spirit' seems to have been a correction made by some one who took offence at the violent metaphor, as he conceived it, that 'light' should bear 'fruit' and desired to tinker the text so as to bring it into
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Paul's Reasons for Temperance
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16. Redeeming the time, because the days
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Redeeming the Time
'See, then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.'--Eph. v. 15, 16. Some of us have, in all probability, very little more 'time' to 'redeem.' Some of us have, in all probability, the prospect of many years yet to live. For both classes my text presents the best motto for another year. The most frivolous among us, I suppose, have some thoughts when we step across the conventional boundary that seems to separate the unbroken sequence
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

On Marriage.
TEXT: EPH. v. 22-31. IN completing lately the annual round of our Christian holy-days, I expressed to you the wish that the holy emotions which our hearts experience at such seasons might not pass away with them; but that the impressions then made might accompany us during the other half of the year, so that without any extraordinary festival incitement we might constantly retain a more lively sense of communion with the Redeemer, and a fuller enjoyment of what the eternal Father has done through
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

The Light of God
Preached for the Chelsea National Schools.] Ephesians v. 13. All things which are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever is made manifest is light. This is a noble text, a royal text; one of those texts which forbid us to clip and cramp Scripture to suit any narrow notions of our own; which open before us boundless vistas of God's love, of human knowledge, of the future of mankind. There are many such texts, many more than we fancy; but this is one which is especially valuable
Charles Kingsley—Sermons for the Times

Against Foolish Talking and Jesting.
"Nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient."-- Ephes. v.4. Moral and political aphorisms are seldom couched in such terms that they should be taken as they sound precisely, or according to the widest extent of signification; but do commonly need exposition, and admit exception: otherwise frequently they would not only clash with reason and experience, but interfere, thwart, and supplant one another. The best masters of such wisdom are wont to interdict things, apt by unseasonable
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

Sensual and Spiritual Excitement.
Preached August 4, 1850. SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT. "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."--Ephesians v. 17, 18. There is evidently a connection between the different branches of this sentence--for ideas cannot be properly contrasted which have not some connection--but what that connection is, is not at first sight clear. It almost appears like a profane and irreverent juxtaposition
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

Members of Christ
"For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."--Ephesians 5:30. YESTERDAY, when I had the painful task of speaking at the funeral of our dear friend, Mr. William Olney, I took the text which I am going to take again now. I am using it again because I did not then really preach from it at all, but simply reminded you of a favorite expression of his, which I heard from his lips many times in prayer. He very frequently spoke of our being one with Christ in "living, loving, lasting
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Living, Loving, Lasting Union
With new portraits of Pastor C. H. Spurgeon and Mr. William Olney "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones--Ephesians 5:30. BEFORE the funeral, at Norwood Cemetery, of the late Mr. William Olney, senior deacon of the church at the metropolitan Tabernacle, a service was held in the Tabernacle. The building was crowded with sympathizing friends, who came to testify the affection they bore to the beloved deacon who had been so suddenly called from their midst. The senior Pastor
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Wary Walking.
(Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.) EPHESIANS v. 15. "See then that ye walk circumspectly." Some people tell us that salvation is the easiest thing in the world. We have only to feel that we believe in Jesus Christ, and all is done. Now neither Jesus Christ Himself, nor the Apostles whom He sent to teach, tell us anything of the kind. On the contrary, our Saviour, whilst He dwells on the fulness and freedom of salvation, offered to all without money, and without price, tells us that many are called,
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

Tenth Day. Love to the Brethren.
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us."--Eph. v. 2. "Jesus," says a writer, "came from heaven on the wings of love." It was the element in which he moved and walked. He sought to baptize the world afresh with it. When we find Him teaching us by love to vanquish an enemy, we need not wonder at the tenderness of His appeals to the brethren to "love one another." Like a fond father impressing his children, how the Divine Teacher lingers over the lesson, "This is My commandment!" If
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

"For to be Carnally Minded is Death; but to be Spiritually Minded is Life and Peace. "
Rom. viii. 6.--"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." It is true, this time is short, and so short that scarce can similitudes or comparisons be had to shadow it out unto us. It is a dream, a moment, a vapour, a flood, a flower, and whatsoever can be more fading or perishing; and therefore it is not in itself very considerable, yet in another respect it is of all things the most precious, and worthy of the deepest attention and most serious consideration;
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"If So be that the Spirit of God Dwell in You. Now if any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, He is None of His. "
Rom. viii. 9.--"If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." There is a great marriage spoken of, Eph. v. that hath a great mystery in it, which the apostle propoundeth as the sample and archetype of all marriages or rather as the substance, of which all conjunctions and relations among the creatures are but the shadows. It is that marriage between Christ and his church, for which, it would appear, this world was builded, to be
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"The Truth. " Some Generals Proposed.
That what we are to speak to for the clearing and improving this noble piece of truth, that Christ is the Truth, may be the more clearly understood and edifying, we shall first take notice of some generals, and then show particularly how or in what respects Christ is called the Truth; and finally speak to some cases wherein we are to make use of Christ as the Truth. As to the first. There are four general things here to be noticed. 1. This supposeth what our case by nature is, and what we are all
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

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