Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
Established November 2008 Published Weekly on Friday
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1Timothy 2:3-4)
Welcome to Home Bible Study.
“To get the most out of your investment (marriage) the husband and wife must invest in it.”
God’s design for marriage (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:21-33) has been hotly contested (challenged) and maligned by individuals within and without the church since the first century. For example this particular passage under study is often proof-texted to sanction male control in the home. It doesn’t take much effort to turn the writings of scripture around to suit an individual’s personal agenda. This too has been occurring since day one. However, if you’ll consider the complete context of this passage you’ll discover Paul didn’t say “the husband is the head of his wife and she is subject to his every whim.” Context remains king. Paul’s initial command be filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 is vitally important to this passage of scripture and must be included if were to appreciate and understand the commands that follow:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
Here we find Paul’s broader theological concern, live life in the Spirit, thus the first principle he’s asserting is the husband and wife are to “Be filled with the Spirit.” Let’s be clear, Paul’s not talking about an out-of- body experience, babbling in an incoherent language, or rolling around on the church floor as though you’re having an epileptic episode; instead he’s saying “be led by the Spirit; under His control.” In verses 5:21-33 he explains how the husband, wife, and their children are to apply this principle to their marriage, their family, and their workplace.
Since this section of scripture is particularly misinterpreted and misunderstood, I decided to park on it to ensure all the saints in Christ are in harmony with God’s Word.
Please open your Bible to Ephesians 5:23-33.
Marriage is Like Christ and the Church
Husbands love your wives, (how) just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Why), so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the (one true) church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy (set apart) and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. 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 (Genesis 2:24). This (what) mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual (member) among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
Let’s begin with the basics; the risen Lord (and not Paul) commands wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord (5:22) For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, (5:23).
The Koine Greek word for headship is (Kephale). It doesn’t mean “shared authority” it means, “Leadership; one-directional authority. We find this word elsewhere in scripture and it means the same thing:
“For the Son of Man is Lord (Kephale) of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8).
…and in Him you have been made complete, and He (the risen Lord) is the head over all rule and authority; (Colossians 2:19).
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman… (1 Corinthians 11:3a).
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of His church (5:23).
There are more Bible verses expressing the same message. I chose these because the principle being denied, misinterpreted, and questioned is communicated in plain language. Now, people are prone to insert their opinion into these statements and others, but God’s Word is not altered, ever.
So, here’s the thing, headship in the home does not mean the husband is to run it like boot camp; where he says, “Jump,” and his family responds, “How high” while trembling in fear. Those who believe this are not being led by the Spirit of God. They’re led by the flesh and that’s rarely if ever a good thing. Biblically speaking, “headship” involves displaying the “fruit of the Spirit:” beginning with sacrificial love. The offshoots of agape love are: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All these spiritual traits should be visible in the Believer’s home along with accountability, compassion, and management:
He (the husband of one wife) must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (Why) but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God (1 Timothy 3:4-5).
Here Paul is addressing Timothy’s concern re: the qualifications of those who were being considered for eldership in the local church. Paul said, “He must be able to manage his own household.” The Koine Greek word for manage is Proistemi (pro-is’-tay-mee), Verb, Strong’s Greek #4291, meaning: to be over, to superintend, preside over, or to care for.
Ultimately the husband is responsible to provide food, clothing, and shelter for his family (1 Timothy 5:8); but the list doesn’t end there. As I said earlier, he is to love his wife sacrificially. He is to be dedicated to his wife (5:31); he is to be faithful to his wife (Matthew 5:28); he is to be kind to his wife (Colossians 3:19); and he should always bear in mind the wise counsel of King Solomon “An excellent wife who can find? She is more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10).
Therefore, the excellent wife and her husband will make decisions together. The wife’s advice, suggestions, and warnings need to be considered in the decision making process. What’s more, they should be carried out if they hold merit. The husband and wife will discuss the problem, whatever that might be, and make a decision as to the proper course of action to take. But there will be times when the husband and wife disagree. When this occurs, the husband is to have the final say. Why? He will be held accountable at the Judgment (Bema) Seat of Christ for everything that transpires in their home; the good and the bad:
So we aspire to please Him, whether we are here in this body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his due for the things done in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:9-11).
So, I pray you understand this is serious business. Paul’s saying the Lord will hold husbands accountable for their actions and their inactions in the marriage relationship.
It’s not true in every case, but the area where most husbands reveal their weakness is in setting a good example for their family in regard to spiritual matters. By the way, my mother assumed this role. Dad was wrapped up in himself. We’d never attend church if it wasn’t for mom’s prodding. So let’s be clear on this matter it’s the husband’s role to lead his family to church, in Bible study, and in prayer. A godly man provides an environment where each member of the family can grow in grace and biblical knowledge of their Savior, rightly divided, of course (2 Timothy 2:15).
Except for an occasional prayer before meals, I never saw my parents pray together. I know my mother prayed, after hours, when she was alone, but I didn’t see my father pray at any time. They were married but living separate lives. We would come together as a family for special events or an outing at the lake, but these were rare. My mother took care of the home and us children, and dad cared for himself, except for those duties he assigned to my mother. After 25 years of marriage she discovered dad was cheating on her, so because of these indiscretions and other issues in their relationship, she filed for divorce. My father didn’t contest it; he remarried a year later and moved to Georgia. My mother had suitors (male friends) but she never remarried. Mom understood marriage is about two people deciding to be united for a life time, per scripture, and she honored this command:
But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried; or else be reconciled to her husband – that is kiss and make up), and that the husband should not divorce his wife… Only as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches (1 Corinthians 7:10-17).
Divorce is not an option for true Believers; instead they are to reconcile their differences. Think about this. If God can reconcile the human race to Himself after all the horrible things mankind has done in the flesh, why can’t a husband and wife forgive reconciling their beloved? That being understood, clearly, a couple should give considerable deliberation to the sanctity of marriage before they “jump in with both feet.” After all, you’re not joining a gym; God said marriage ends only when either the husband or wife dies. The unconformed world holds a different view, but this does not negate God’s will for you and your marriage.
Men and women are equal in that they are both created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). But in the partnership of two spiritually equal human beings, the man bears the primary responsibility to lead their partner in a God-glorifying direction. This is what Paul is teaching the Ephesians (and us). He uses the model of the Lord’s headship of the church, who gave Himself up for her, (5:25) to steer us in the right direction. Evangelical feminism argues God created man and woman as equals in the sense that excludes male leadership, but these folks tend to overlook what the scriptures say. Returning to the beginning in Genesis 3, we find male headship/leadership being imposed upon the woman by the Creator God Himself because she was deceived by the serpent; the LORD judged her and she was penalized for this:
For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman who was deceived and fell into transgression (1 Timothy 2:13-14).
So, once again, we have these different roles in marriage because God designed it this way. Furthermore, the role of the husband and his wife has not been rescinded. That being said, although men and women are equal in that both were created in God’s image, they do not possess the same abilities. Most people recognize the fact that men and women are not the same. However, some people will argue the point, but I’ve yet to see a man nurture a child in their womb for nine months and then give birth! Studies have shown men and women are different in many ways. They think differently, they process emotions differently, they make decisions differently, and they absorb knowledge differently. Women have been found to utilize both sides of their brain, while the man uses only one side of his. Despite these differences and others when men and women unite in marriage they complement one another, and it’s a beautiful thing.
From this we learn “Two heads are better than one” in the marriage relationship. If man could have accomplished everything on his own, the LORD God would not have created the woman. The LORD God said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper (help meet) suitable for him (Genesis 2:18). Up to this point in time God had declared everything “good” or “very good,” but look again at what He said here, “It is not good for man to be alone…” If all the man needed was friendship, the LORD could have blessed him with a Labrador retriever. But the man’s emotional and physical needs exceeded friendship. This is why the LORD made him a suitable helper. The other thing worth your consideration is both the man and woman were designed by the LORD to be social (communal) creatures. This was necessary to fulfill the LORD’s command “multiply and fill the earth.” The man certainly couldn’t accomplish this alone.
Let’s look at verses 5:26-30.
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
Here Paul’s saying husbands are to love their own wives with a sacrificial love. They are to care for their wives and protect her, as Jesus Christ also does his church. He goes on to say husbands are to nourish and cherish her as he does his own body. I’ve heard the phrase “love, honor, and cherish” included in the marriage vows, and the couple both responded, “I do.” However I don’t believe they know what this means. Nourish means to grow and cherish means to warm. Thus, love, honor, and cherish isn’t based on your spouse’s behavior or subject to one’s emotions (1 Corinthians 13). A Believing husband should do his best to nourish and cherish his wife in the love of Christ, as he would his own body, and tend to her emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual needs 24/7/365 (5:29; Colossians 3:19).
It’s not true in every case, but Paul’s saying if the husband dedicates this type of attention to his wife, she will naturally reciprocate by following his spiritual leadership. Even though his wife may be equipped in biblical knowledge, the various church doctrines, their application to life, and teaches these things to her children, a husband must be diligent to oversee and guide the spiritual training of his family (Ephesians 6:4).
Let’s move on to verses 5:31-32.
… because we are members of His body. 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 (Genesis 2:24). This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
The American home is the bedrock of society, government, and the Church, of course.
If the home is under attack, whether from within as a result of conflict (sin) or from without due to Satan’s evil intentions, it will negatively affect every facet of human relations. The family’s problems become the world’s problems. If you dismiss this information without so much as a thought, consider the state of the USA today before you exit: AIDs, abortion, addictions, a bloated federal government that spends trillions of dollars annually accomplishing very little, division, drugs, hate groups, juvenile delinquency, immorality, physical and sexual abuse, swollen welfare programs, and teen suicide; to name a few. Consider the Roman Empire the most powerful and feared nation on this planet in its day; it wasn’t conquered from without; moral decay from within was its downfall.
American families have tried to succeed without God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in their lives and it simply isn’t working folks. All we’re doing is repeating Rome’s fatal mistake. There is only one way to turn our nation around. It needs to return to the biblical principles this nation was founded on, in awe of God, especially the foundation fundamentals of God’s original design for the family.
Preparation for Marriage
The lost world’s procedure for selecting a mate goes something like this: appearance, compatibility, education, and let’s not forget their financial status; are they living with mom and dad or are they industrious, self-supported, or better yet, rich! Unfortunately, this concept has infiltrated God’s one church. Even the Believer will stop and consider these same factors, picturing a successful marriage with all or most of them accounted for.
But when your child is crying at 0230 hours, one’s appearance is a non-factor. What matters is who will sacrifice sleep by getting up out of bed to take care of the infant. The other thing is even though this nation spends billions of dollars annually on products that will help people beautify themselves, remain looking young, looks are the first thing to disappear from this list. No one can stop the aging process. So, you’d better have more than appearance going for you.
There is also nothing wrong with compatibility, i.e. both people enjoy the beach, dancing, and going to the movies, and to church. But do things matter when the husband returns home early with the news he’s been laid off from work, or has been seriously injured on the job, and there’s a stack of unpaid bills on the counter. I don’t have a money-tree in my yard and I’m quite sure no one else does. Infidelity is responsible for the failure of most marriages in this nation, but money concerns follow a close second.
So, in a nutshell, these human traits aren’t necessarily bad, however, the couple should consider whether or not they are going to build their future together based upon God’s revealed will, or on the shifting sand:
"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25).
In short, Believers, in Christ Jesus should begin their search for a life-long mate according to the pattern of God’s Word. The four essentials for a Christ-centered marriage are: salvation, spirituality, convictions, and the desire to solve life’s problems biblically. People are not to be unequally yoked:
Do not become unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Although it is not a biblical prerequisite that a marriage partner possess all these graces, they do provide the means through which the marriage relationship will function smoothly and thrive. I’ll give you one example of this: if a young woman is a Bible believing Grace Believer and marries a devout Baptist, who fully intends to die a Baptist, he naturally will express a strong conviction about the church they will attend. She has her convictions and he has his, but this matter becomes even more complicated when the little ones arrive on the scene. Which church will they attend?
The wife could compromise her beliefs, but this runs contrary to her convictions, which run just as deep as her Baptist husband’s. They could attend different churches, but this divides the family; so that’s not a good thing. One other option is to stay at home, but this choice runs contrary to scripture which clearly says:
Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).
Do you understand what this book is saying? If you’re unequally yoked, your marriage will not thrive and the consequences are likely to be dire if not devastating. And yet, the world-at-large continues to pursue unconformity and the lusts of the flesh either due to ignorance or hardheartedness re: God and His Blueprint for a Successful Marriage.
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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