Ephesians 5:28
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) So ought men to love their wives . . .—From this glorious digression; applying only to the divine Antitype, St. Paul comes back to the one point, in which the type may imitate it—that is, a deep and unfailing love. “So” refers to the previous verse, describing the love of Christ, not to the “as” following; otherwise the want of connection would be strangely abrupt. Moreover, from this idea of the love of Christ as the pattern, the latter part of this verse and the following verses naturally arise. Christ loves the Church as His body, a part of Himself. Hence the idea that the husband is “the head of the wife” gives place to the absolute identification of himself with his wife, as “one flesh.”

He that loveth his wife loveth himself.—All right “love of our neighbour” is directed to be given to him “as to ourselves.” It is to be of the same kind as the love of self—that is, first, an instinct (as of self-preservation); and next a rational and settled principle (as of reasonable self-love, seeking our own perfection, which is our happiness). Here, however, this love to our neighbour is actually identified with self-love. The wife is the husband’s very self; he can no more fail to love her than to love himself, though (again to follow the example of Christ) he may love her better than himself. We may note that this identification of husband and wife is the basis of all ecclesiastical, and, in great degree, of all civil, law of Christian nations as to marriage.

Ephesians 5:28-32. But to return to the subject from which this pleasing digression has led us: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies — That is, as themselves, or a part of themselves; the bond of marriage making the husband and his wife one, and establishing an inseparable community of interests between them; so that the husband is to love his wife with the same sincerity and ardency of affection wherewith he loves himself. “The husband,” says Macknight, “whose love leads him, after Christ’s example, not only to protect and cherish his wife, by giving her the necessaries and conveniences of life, but also to cleanse her; that is, to form her mind, and assist her in making progress in virtue, really loves himself, and promotes his own happiness in the best manner. For his wife, being thus loved and cared for, will be strengthened for performing her duty; and her mind being improved, her conversation will give him the greater pleasure. Withal, having a high esteem for her husband, she will submit to the hardships of her inferior station with cheerfulness.” No man — In his senses; ever yet hated his own flesh — Whatever its infirmities or imperfections were; but nourisheth and cherisheth it — Feeds and clothes it; nay, and not only provides for its sustenance, but for its comfortable accommodation; even as the Lord nourishes and cherishes the church — Supplying it with all things that may conduce to its welfare and happiness, sympathizing with it in its infirmities, looking upon it as one with himself. For — He can say of his church what Adam said of Eve, when just taken out of his side, (Genesis 2:23,) This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. In other words, the reason why Christ nourishes and cherishes the church, is that close connection which subsists between him and her, his people being as intimately united to him, as if they were literally flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone. For this cause — Because the woman is of the man’s flesh, and of his bones; shall a man leave his father and mother — To whom he was before united by the closest ties; and shall be joined unto his wife — Inseparably, till death shall part them; and they — Though originally and naturally two persons; shall — For the future; be one flesh — Shall be considered as one person, or as one soul in two bodies. This is a great mystery — A truth long unknown; and now, when in some measure discovered, is a matter worthy of much admiration. In the Vulgate version, this clause is translated, Sacramentum hoc magnum est, This is a great sacrament. And it is the sole foundation on which the Papists have set up marriage as a sacrament. But I speak concerning Christ and the church — That is, In saying this, you will easily perceive I speak not of the union between a man and his wife, but of that between Christ and the church: for that the eternal Son of God should unite himself to a society of degenerate and mortal men, should love them with an affection exceeding that which is to be found among the most intimate human relations, and should even regard them as making a part of himself, because of the intimacy with which they are joined to him in a community of spirit and of interest, can certainly never be sufficiently admired.

This seems to be the sense of the passage. Dr. Macknight, however, following Dr. Alix, Dr. Whitby, and several others, thinks that the apostle calls the formation of Eve from Adam’s body, his marriage with her, and the intimate union established between them by that marriage, a great mystery, because it contained an important emblematical meaning concerning the regeneration of believers, and their union with Christ, which [meaning] hitherto had been kept secret, but which he had discovered by applying Adam’s words concerning Eve, to Christ and his church; insinuating, by this application, “1st, That the formation of Eve, of a rib taken out of Adam’s body, was a figure of the regeneration of believers, by the breaking of Christ’s body, mentioned Ephesians 5:25. 2d, That Adam’s love to Eve, on account of her being formed of his body, was a figure of Christ’s love to believers, because they are become his body, Ephesians 5:30. 3d, That Adam’s marriage with Eve was a figure of the eternal union of Christ with believers in heaven, mentioned Ephesians 5:27. In giving this emblematical representation of these ancient facts, the apostle has not exceeded the bounds of probability. In the first age, neither the art of writing, nor any permanent method of conveying instruction being invented, it was necessary to make such striking actions and events as could not easily be forgotten, emblems of the instruction intended to be perpetuated. On this supposition, Adam, in whom the human race began, was a natural image of Christ, in whom the human race was to be restored; and his deep sleep, the opening of his side, and the formation of Eve of a rib taken out of his side, were fit emblems of Christ’s death, of the opening of his side on the cross, and of the regeneration of believers by his death. The love which Adam expressed toward Eve, and his union with her by marriage, were lively images of Christ’s love to believers, and of his eternal union with them in one society after their resurrection. And Eve herself, who was formed of a rib taken from Adam’s side, was a natural image of believers, who are regenerated, both in their bodies and in their minds, by the breaking of Christ’s side on the cross. Thus the circumstances which accompanied the formation of Eve, being fit emblems of the formation of the church, we may suppose they were brought to pass to prefigure that great event; and by prefiguring it, to show that it was decreed of God from the very beginning!” For a further elucidation of the subject, the reader must be referred to the above- mentioned commentator. We may add here, however, that Origen seems to have had some notion of the relation this passage had to Adam and Eve, when he says, “If any man deride us for using the example of Adam and Eve, when we treat of the knowledge of Christ, let him consider these words, This is a great mystery.” Tertullian also frequently alludes to the same thing, saying, “This is a great sacrament: Carnaliter in Adam, spiritualiter in Christo, propter spirituales nuptias Christi et ecclesiæ: carnally in Adam, spiritually in Christ, by reason of the spiritual marriage between him and his church.”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.So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies - Because they are one flesh; Ephesians 5:31. This is the subject on which Paul had been speaking, and from which he had been diverted by the allusion to the glorified church. The doctrine here is, that a husband should have the same care for the comfort of his wife which he has for himself. He should regard her as one with himself; and as he protects his own body from cold and hunger, and, when sick and suffering, endeavors to restore it to health, so he should regard and treat her.

He that loveth his wife loveth himself -

(1) Because she is one with him, and their interests are identified.

(2) because, by this, he really promotes his own welfare, as much as he does when he takes care of his own body. A man's kindness to his wife will be more than repaid by the happiness which she imparts; and all the real solicitude which he shows to make her happy, will come to more than it costs. If a man wishes to promote his own happiness in the most effectual way, he had better begin by showing kindness to his wife.

28. Translate, "So ought husbands also (thus the oldest manuscripts read) to love their own (compare Note, see on [2372]Eph 5:22) wives as their own bodies."

He that loveth his wife loveth himself—So there is the same love and the same union of body between Christ and the Church (Eph 5:30, 32).

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies; with the same kind of love wherewith they love their own bodies. The woman at first was taken out of the man, and on that account the wife may be said to be a part of her husband.

He that loveth his wife loveth himself; either this explains the former, and himself here is the same as

their own bodies before; or it adds to it, and is as much as, his own person, the wife being another self, one flesh, the same person (in a civil sense) with her husband. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies,.... It is a common saying with the Jews, that a man's wife is "as his own body" (r); and it is one of the precepts of their wise men, that a man should honour his wife more than his body, , and "love her as his body" (s); for as they also say, they are but one body (t); the apostle seems to speak in the language of his countrymen; however, his doctrine and theirs agree in this point: wherefore

he that loveth his wife loveth himself; because she is one body and flesh with him.

(r) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 24. 1. & Becorot, fol. 35. 2. Maimon. Hilchot Becorot, c. 2. sect. 17. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 18. 2.((s) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 62. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 76. 2. Derech Eretz, fol. 17. 4. Maimon Hilchot Ishot, c. 15. sect. 19. (t) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 3.

{14} So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

(14) Another argument: every man loves himself, even by nature: therefore he strives against nature that does not love his wife. He proves the conclusion, first by the mystical knitting of Christ and the Church together, and then by the ordinance of God, who says that man and wife are as one, that is, not to be divided.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 5:28. Οὕτως] To refer this, with Meier and Baumgarten-Crusius, as also de Wette is disposed to do, to the following ὡς (Estius likewise would have it so understood, unless οὕτως καὶ οἱ ἄνδρες ὀφείλουσιν be read; which, however, is really to be read, see the critical remarks), might, doubtless, be admissible in itself (see on 1 Corinthians 4:1), but is here quite out of place; because οὕτως would then have an undue emphasis, and the declaration would stand without any inner connection with that which precedes. It relates to what is said from καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστός, Ephesians 5:25 onwards to Ephesians 5:27, and is equivalent to: in accordance with this relation, in keeping with this holy love of Christ for the church. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 39; Herm. ad Viger. p. 793. We may add that Zanchius, who is followed by Estius and Harless,[280] is in error in saying, “digressus non nihil ad mysterium, nunc ad institutum redit.” There was no digression in what precedes, but a delineation of the love of Christ serving as an example for the husbands.

ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα] not: like their own bodies,[281] but: as their own bodies. For Christ loved the church not like His body, but as His body, which the church is and He its head, Ephesians 5:23. So is also the husband head of the wife, and he is to love the wife as his body—which conception, however, does not present the Gnostic notion of the πλῆρωμα. (Baur), but, on the contrary, comp. 1 Corinthians 11:3. Schoettgen, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Meier, and others make ὡς τὰ ἑαυτ. σώματα mean nothing more than: like themselves; but this is in itself quite arbitrary and without support from linguistic usage, and also utterly inappropriate to the example of Christ, since we certainly cannot say of Christ that He loved the church like Himself! In the Rabbinical passages, too, as Sanhedr. f. 76, Ephesians 2 : “qui uxorem amat ut corpus suum,” etc., this ut corpus suum is to be taken literally, and that in accordance with the mode of regarding man and wife as one flesh. We may add that Paul does not by means of ὡς τ. ἑαυτ. σώμ. pass over into another figure, or even to another view of the subject (Rückert), but already, in the preceding description of the love of Christ to the church, his conception has been that Christ loves the church, His bride, as His body, which conception he now first, in the application, definitely indicates, and in Ephesians 5:29-31 more particularly elucidates.

ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ] From the duty of loving their own wives ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα, results—inasmuch as in fact according to this the wife belongs essentially to the proper self of the husband as such—the proposition of conjugal ethics, that the love of one’s own wife is love of oneself. This proposition Paul lays down, in order to treat it more in detail, Ephesians 5:29-32, and finally repeat it in the form of a direct precept in Ephesians 5:33.

[280] Who thinks that Paul is only resuming the simple injunction of ver. 25, with the expansion ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα. Certainly the main point of the precept, ver. 28, lies in those words; hut this whole precept is by means of οὕτως grounded on what is said from καθὼς κ. ὁ Χρ., ver. 25, onward.

[281] Meier; comp. also Grotius, who here brings in the entirely heterogeneous comparison: “Sicuti corpus est instrumentum animi, ita uxor est instrumentum viri ad res domesticas, ad quaerendos liberos.”Ephesians 5:28. οὕτως ὀφείλουσιν [καὶ] οἱ ἄνδρες ἀγαπᾷν τὰς ἑαυτῶν γυναῖκας: even so [also] ought husbands to love their own wives. The reading and the order vary somewhat. The ὀφείλουσιν precedes οἱ ἄνδρες in most manuscripts, [656]2[657] [658] 17, etc.; in others ([659] [660] [661] [662], etc.) it follows it. Lachm. prefers the latter; TrWHRV the former. The TR, supported by [663] [664] [665], etc., omits καί; which is inserted, however, before οἱ ἄνδρες by [666] [667] [668] [669] [670] 17, and most Versions, etc. It is accepted by TrRV, and is bracketed by WH. The οὕτως is taken by some (De Wette, etc.) to refer to the following ὡς, = “husbands ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies”. To this there is no serious grammatical objection; for οὕτως does not look always to what precedes, but may refer to what follows (e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:15, οὕτω δὲ ὡς διὰ πυρός; also 1 Corinthians 4:1). When this is the case, however, whether in classical Greek or in the NT, there appears to be a certain emphasis on the οὕτως, and its more familiar reference is to what precedes. Here, too, the καί favours the relation to the preceding καθὼς καὶ ὁ χριστός, etc. The idea, therefore, is that even as Christ loved the Church so too ought husbands to love their wives.—ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα: as their own bodies. This is not to be reduced to “like themselves” (Rosenm., etc.); nor does ὡς here mean simply “like,” as if all that is meant is that the husband’s love for his wife is to be similar to his love for his own body. The ὡς has its qualitative force, = “as it were,” “as being”. Christ and husband are each head, as Paul has already put it, and as the Church is the body in relation to the former, so is the wife in relation to the latter. The husband, the head, therefore, is to love the wife as being his body, even as Christ loved the Church as forming His body. The idea of husband and wife as being one flesh is probably also in view. ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα, ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ: he that loveth his own wife loveth himself. The relation of head and body means that the wife is part of the husband’s self. To love his wife, therefore, in this character as being his body, is to love himself. It is a love, consequently, not merely of duty, but of natureκατὰ φύσιν as well as κατʼ ὀφειλήν (Ell.).

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

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

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

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

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

[661] 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.

[662] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Ephesians 2:13-16.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[669] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[670] 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.28. So] With a love akin to the love of Christ just described. The Gr. word is one whose reference tends to preceding ideas.

as their own bodies] A clause explanatory of “So” just above. It was thus that Christ loved the Church. In eternal purpose, and in actual redemption and regeneration, she is at once His Bride and His Body. The husband is accordingly to regard his wife as, in a profound and sacred sense, part and parcel of his own living frame.

his wife] Lit., his own wife. The Gr. emphasizes the “self-ness,” so to speak, of the relation: “his own wife … his own self.”Ephesians 5:28. Ἑαυτὸν, himself) Ephesians 5:29; Ephesians 5:31, at the end.Verse 28. - Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. A new illustration is introduced here to throw light on the bearing of the husband to his wife, and the οὕτως seems to refer, not to what goes before, but to what follows (comp. in ver. 33). He that loveth his own wife loveth himself. His wife is part of himself, so that not to love her as himself is not only a sin against law, but a sin against nature. So

As Christ loved the Church.

As their own bodies (ὡς)

As being: since they are.

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