Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church.—The love of Christ for His Church is such that He counts Himself incomplete without her (Ephesians 1:23), and raises her to be one with Himself; that He bears with her weakness and frailty; that He draws her on by the cords of love; and that He gives up Himself for her. Only so far as the husband shows the like love in perfect sympathy, in chivalrous forbearance, in abhorrence of tyranny, in willingness to self-sacrifice, has he any right to claim lordship.

And gave himself for it.—Here, as before, the antitype transcends the type. In the character of our Lord’s sacrifice, as an atonement offered “for” the Church, and in the regenerating and cleansing effect of that sacrifice (see next verse), none can approach Him. The husband may be said to give himself for his wife, but it cannot be in any higher sense than as taking the chief share of the burden, and if possible the pain, of life for her. He may follow Christ in love, and in that alone. Compare St. Paul’s words in Colossians 1:24, “I fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for His body’s sake, which is the Church” (where see Note).

(25-27) In these verses we trace, under the nuptial metaphor, a clear description of the three great stages in salvation—justification in His “giving Himself for us, sanctification in the “cleansing by water in the Word,” glorification in the final “presentation” to Christ in glory. The metaphor is certainly preserved in the last two clauses, which correspond to the bath of purification of the bride, and the festal presentation of her (usually by the friend of the bridegroom, John 3:29), in all her beauty and adornment, to her husband at his own home; perhaps even in the first also, for the husband used to give a dowry, which was held in the rude simplicity of ancient times to purchase his wife, and here that which Christ gives is the unspeakable price of His own Self. Throughout, in accordance with the whole tenor of the Epistle, it is the Church as a whole, not the individual soul, which is “the Spouse of Christ.”

Ephesians 5:25. The apostle now proceeds to speak of the duty of husbands to their wives, the principal of which consists in their loving them, without which they would abuse their power to tyranny and oppression. But how are they to love them? The apostle says, as Christ loved the church — Namely, with a love that is sincere, pure, ardent, constant, and persevering, and notwithstanding the imperfections and failures that they are chargeable with. The true model this of conjugal affection! with this kind of love, with this degree of it, and to this end, should husbands love their wives. Christ loved the church, and gave himself a ransom for it, when it was in a state of slavery and misery; and husbands, if called to it by God, should lay down their lives for their wives. Observe, reader, as the church’s subjection to Christ is proposed as an example to wives, so the love of Christ to his church is proposed as a pattern to husbands: and while such examples are offered to the imitation of both, and so much is required of each of them, neither has reason to complain of the divine injunction. The love which God requires from the husband toward his wife, compensates for that subjection which he demands from her to her husband: and the prescribed subjection of the wife is an abundant return for that love of the husband which God hath made her due. In what follows we are told that the end for which Christ loved the church, was that he might make her holy and save her; therefore, if husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, they must endeavour to promote their faith and piety, must strive to make them wise and holy.5:22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.Husbands, love your wives - The duty of the wife is to obey; the right of the husband is to command. But the apostle would guard against the abuse of that right by enjoining the manifestation of such a spirit on the husband as would secure obedience on the part of the wife. He proceeds, therefore, to show, that the husband, in all his conversation with the wife, should manifest the same spirit which the Lord Jesus did toward the church; or, in other words, he holds up the conduct of the Redeemer toward the church, as the model for a husband to imitate. If a husband wished a rule that would be short, simple, clear, and efficacious, about the manner in which he should regard and treat his wife, he could not find a better one than that here suggested.

Even as Christ loved the church - This was the strongest love that has ever been evinced in this world. It follows, that a husband is in no danger of loving his wife too much, provided she be not loved more than God. We are to make the love which Christ had for the church the model.

And gave himself for it - Gave himself to die to redeem it. The meaning here is, that husbands are to imitate the Redeemer in this respect. As he gave himself to suffer on the cross to save the church, so we are to be willing to deny ourselves, and to bear toil and trial, that we may promote the happiness of the wife. It is the duty of the husband to toil for her support; to provide for her needs; to deny himself of rest and ease, if necessary, in order to attend on her in sickness to go before her in danger; to defend her if she is in peril; and to be ready to die to save her Why should he not be? If they are shipwrecked, and there is a single plank on which safety can be secured, should he not be willing to place her on that, and see her safe at all hazards to himself? But there may be more implied in this than that a man is to toil, and even to lay down his life for the welfare of his wife. Christ laid down his life to save the church; and a husband should feel that it should be one great object of his life to promote the salvation of his wife. He is bound so to live as not to interfere with her salvation, but so as to promote it in every way possible. He is to furnish her all the "facilities" that she may need, to enable her to attend on the worship of God; and to throw no obstacles in her way. He is to set her the example; to counsel her if she needs counsel, and to make the path of salvation as easy for her as possible. If a husband has the spirit and self-denial of the Saviour, he will regard no sacrifice too great if he may promote the salvation of his family.

25. "Thou hast seen the measure of obedience; now hear also the measure of love. Do you wish your wife to obey you, as the Church is to obey Christ? Then have a solicitude for her as Christ had for the Church (Eph 5:23, "Himself the Saviour of the body"); and "if it be necessary to give thy life for her, or to be cut in ten thousand pieces, or to endure any other suffering whatever, do not refuse it; and if you suffer thus, not even so do you do what Christ has done; for you indeed do so being already united to her, but He did so for one that treated Him with aversion and hatred. As, therefore, He brought to His feet one that so treated Him, and that even wantonly spurned Him, by much tenderness of regard, not by threats, insults, and terror: so also do you act towards your wife, and though you see her disdainful and wantonly wayward, you will be able to bring her to your feet by much thoughtfulness for her, by love, by kindness. For no bound is more sovereign in binding than such bonds, especially in the case of husband and wife. For one may constrain a servant by fear, though not even he is so to be bound to you; for he may readily run away. But the companion of your life, the mother of your children, the basis of all your joy, you ought to bind to you, not by fear and threats, but by love and attachment" [Chrysostom].

gave himself—Greek, "gave Himself up."

for it—Translate, "for her." The relation of the Church to Christ is the ground of Christianity's having raised woman to her due place in the social scale, from which she was, and is, excluded in heathen lands.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, viz. with a sincere, pure, ardent, and constant affection. As they resemble Christ in the honour they have of being the heads of their wives, so they must likewise in performing the duty of loving them, under which all matrimonial duties are comprehended.

And gave himself for it; whereby he testified the greatness of his love. Husbands, love your wives,.... Which consists in a strong and cordial affection for them; in a real delight and pleasure in them; in showing respect, and doing honour to them; in seeking their contentment, satisfaction, and pleasure; in a quiet, constant, and comfortable dwelling with them; in providing all things necessary for them; in protecting them from all injuries and abuses; in concealing their faults, and covering their infirmities; in entertaining the best opinion of their persons and actions; and in endeavouring to promote their spiritual good and welfare: this love ought to be hearty and sincere, and not feigned and selfish; it should be shown in private, as well as in public: it should be chaste and single, constant and perpetual; it should exceed that which is bore to neighbours, or even to parents, and should be equal to that a man bears to himself; though not so as to hinder, and break in upon love to God and Christ: many are the reasons why husbands should love their wives; they are given to be helps unto them; they are companions of them; they are wives of covenant; they are their own wives, yea, their own bodies, their own flesh, nay, as themselves; they are their image and their glory; and especially the example of Christ, in his love to his church and people, should engage to it:

even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it: See Gill on Ephesians 5:2; the Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, "his own church"; his bride and spouse, whom he betrothed to himself from all eternity, the Father having given her to him; and is no other than the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, even all the elect of God.

{12} Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

(12) The husbands duty towards their wives is to love them as themselves, of which love the love of Christ towards his Church is a graphic image.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 5:25. If the duty of the wives was ὑποτάσσεσθαι τοῖς ἀνδράσιν ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ, that of the husband is: ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς κ.τ.λ., a love, therefore, which is ready to undergo even death out of affection for the wife. “Si omnia rhetorum argumenta in unum conjicias, non tam persuaseris conjugibus dilectionem mutuam, quam hic Paulus,” Bugenhagen.

καὶ ἑαυτὸν παρέδ. κ.τ.λ.] A practical proof of the ἠγάπησε. Comp. Ephesians 5:2. What giving up is meant (namely, that unto death) is obvious of itself here, where no definition is added to παρέδ.; Galatians 2:20; Romans 4:25.Ephesians 5:25. οἱ ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας [ἑαυτῶν], καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησε τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: husbands, love your wives, even as also Christ loved the Church. The reflexive ἑαυτῶν introduced by the TR after γυναῖκας, as in [641] [642] [643], Syr., etc., is not found in [644] [645] [646], 17, Clem., etc., and is properly omitted by LTTr WRV. The reading ὑμῶν also occurs in [647]. We have now the statement of the corresponding duty of husbands. If the wife’s duty is submission, the husband’s is love—a love like Christ’s—a love capable even of suffering and dying for the wife as Christ did for the Church.—καὶ ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς: and gave Himself up for it. παρέδωκεν, as in Ephesians 5:2, Galatians 2:20 (παραδόντος ἑαυτόν), Romans 4:25 (παρεδόθη), without explanation of that to which He gave Himself; that being understood to be death. This is the measure, therefore, of Christ’s love, and this is the manner of love with which the husband is to meet the wife’s obedience.

[641] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[642] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[643] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[644] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[645] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[646] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[647] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.25. Husbands] Here the instruction is equally precise and more full. Cp. 1 Peter 3:7.

love] “in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18), “giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel” (1 Pet., quoted above). Monod well says that the Apostle, true to the spirit of the Gospel, speaks to the wife of the authority of the husband, to the husband of devotion to the wife: each party is reminded not of rights, but of duties.

even as Christ] What a standard for the man’s conjugal love, in point of elevation, holiness, and self-sacrifice! “In Christian domestic life, Jesus Christ is at once the starting point and the goal of everything … We may even say that domestic life is the triumph of the Christian faith” (Monod).

loved the church, &c.] Cp. the same words of the individual soul, Galatians 2:10, “Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The two places are in deepest harmony. Cp. also above, Ephesians 5:2.

Loved:”—in the pre-mundane view and grace indicated e.g. Ephesians 1:3-7. Cp. 2 Timothy 1:9.

gave] Lit. (and so Galatians 2:20), gave over, delivered up, to suffering and death. The same word is used e.g. Romans 4:25; Romans 8:32.

himself] The supreme Ransom-gift. Cp. Titus 2:14 (where the Gr. verb is simply “gave.”)

for it] Better, in this vivid context, for her.—On the preposition, see above on Ephesians 5:2.Ephesians 5:25. Ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν, gave Himself up) from love to the Church.Verse 25. - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for her. The husband's duty to the wife is enforced by another parallel - it ought to correspond to Christ's love for the Church. This parallel restores the balance; if it should seem hard for the wife to be in subjection, the spirit of love, Christ-like love, on the part of the husband makes the duty easy. Christ did not merely pity the Church, or merely desire her good, but loved her; her image was stamped on his heart and her name graven on his hands; he desired to have her for his companion, longing for a return of her affection, for the establishment of sympathy between her and him. And he gave himself for her (comp. ver. 2), showing that her happiness and welfare were dearer to him than his own - the true test of deep, real love.
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