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Ephesians 5:21-33 (Husbands) Discussion Guide

21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.—Ephesians 5:21-33

We learned today that in God’s eyes, men and women are equal in value and ordained in distinction. In Genesis 2:18, God said it was “not good for man to be alone,” so He created “a helper suitable for him.” This person, a woman, was (just like Adam) created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27.)

The New Testament says in Galatians 3:28 that both males and females are equal in value. The Bible also says men and women are distinct in three ways:
1. Biologically
2. Distinct in Core Desire (Men=Respect | Women=To be loved.)
3. Roles and Responsibilities

To understand the role and nature of husbands, it is first necessary to understand the attributes of biblical manhood. They are:
1. Reject Passivity
2. Accept Responsibility
3. Lead Courageously
4. Expect a Greater Reward

Today’s text says husbands are to be the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23.) Jesus described this headship in Matthew 20:25-28. Read that scripture aloud.

Discussion Questions

  1. Beyond Submission: Ephesians 5:21 emphasizes mutual submission. How can husbands avoid interpreting wifely submission as an excuse for passivity within the marriage?
  2. Active Leadership: The passage describes the husband as the head. What does active, Christ-like leadership look like in the context of marriage, distinct from domination or control?
  3. Decision-Making: How can husbands involve their wives in decision-making while still fulfilling their role as the head, fostering a sense of shared responsibility?
  4. Spiritual Leadership: Ephesians 5:25-27 highlights Christ’s sacrificial love for the church. How can husbands both lead and nurture their spouse’s spiritual growth?
  5. Initiating Healthy Conflict: Conflict can be an opportunity for growth. How can husbands initiate healthy conversations about disagreements that promote understanding and resolution?
  6. Protecting and Providing: Ask the men and women to separately make lists of the ways husbands can take responsibility for protecting their wives emotionally, physically, and financially. Compare the lists.
  7. Courageous Conversations: Some topics can be challenging to discuss. How can husbands cultivate the courage to have necessary conversations for the health of the marriage?
  8. Leading by Example: Discuss the importance of husbands leading by personal example in areas like integrity, work ethic, and Christ-like character.
  9. Greater Reward: The passage doesn’t mention rewards, but some interpret it as such. How can husbands focus on fulfilling their role out of love and service, trusting that God brings blessings?
  10. Personal Growth: What steps can husbands take to develop the qualities necessary for courageous leadership within the marriage?
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