Marriage Online Bible Study, Week 8- Gender Roles 3

Ephesians 5 21-33

21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Our online bible study continues this week with the eigth sermon from the Series on marriage by Tim Keller. Below is a summary of the audio teaching which I recommend you listen to at your own pace. It’s the all-time bestselling sermon series from Redeemer Presbyterian Church, preached in 1991, and the basis for the bestselling book “The Meaning of Marriage” in 2011.You can purchase them HERE for only $2.50 per session. I am in no way affiliated with the Redeemers Presbytarian Church.


Tim Keller starts with an note on what is it is to be the head. Head means the husband and wife complete one another and also that there is an authority structure inside marriage.

He then explains that the word authority has two parts to it. Something has authority if it’s the source. The author knows what a text is about because he is the source. When headship is mentioned, Paul is talking about the old testament where Eve was created out of Adam. The significance of that is that God created man in his own image which means we have the ability to reflect Gods image in a way that the rocks and animals don’t. HE created male and female where together they are complete and both reflect God in a way that they don’t when one is separate from the other. Tim points out that this is amazingly controversial and our entire society is moving away from this.

Head means the husband and wife complete one another

Adam did not find a suitable companion which shows he was created with a deficit. God created everything and he said it was good until it was not good for man to be alone. Eve was created as a helper fit for him. She was in essence created as the opposite of him and when he saw her he said this AT LAST this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. This means that there had been a yearning for something or someone to complete him. He found the missing part, she was opposite to him yet she was him. Together they form a whole a reflect the image of God. Tim goes on to point out the bible says ‘And they were naked and unashamed’. The result of this completion was personal ease, nothing to hide and completeness but sin came in and disrupted this unity. There is a non reversible unity between the genders. They are  in someway opposed one another, they are equal but not equivalent and this is very difficult to articulate. It’s two people working to keep the independence of a male from becoming tyranny and the interdependence of a female from becoming dependence. They are completing each other, redeeming each other, restoring each other and helping make one another into who God wants them to be.

Headship means authority

  1. It does not mean that the wives give their unconditional obedience. Romans 13:Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. BUT Acts 5:29 says 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”                  God should judge wether we obey man rather than him. We are free from human authority if its forcing us to sin. Romans 13 is not absolute. Acts 5 says we are no longer under authority if it causes sin.
  2. It does not mean wives do not take part in the consensus form of decision making. Friends sharpen each other, how much more the marriage relationship. Completion is conflict, going at each other, beating up one another in love(metaphorically of course),  it’s hard but that’s how completions happens. You are supposed to be sanctifying one another, sharpening one another, cleansing one another.
  3. When you can’t agree after lots of completions and consensus someone has got to break the tie. Tim Keller says to let the husband do it because it speaks deeply to your masculinity and your femininity. Egalitarian says no one breaks the tie but Tim says that in his experience, its impossible. Eg Tim wanted to come to Newyork to start a church and his wife, Kathy didn’t. So he agreed not to go and she pointed out that she got to break the tie. One person has to break the tie. At that point she said he should break the tie and this has happened only a few times in the marriage. They did it simply to obey the word go God. On the basis of the bible they chose to obey and it completed them in a way they never would have thought of.

For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church. 

The bible says wives respect their husbands not husbands take respect from your wives. Husbands are called to love not to exert their headships. Men are not titled to headship unless they are loving their wives sacrificially the way christ loved the church. He only has the right to earn it, not to demand it and he does not deserve it unless the wife chooses to give it to him. As he point ed out before, sin has changed the headship principle so that men will tend to oppress their wives but husbands are only allowed to receive the headship, not demand it.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Tim says that this is teaching us something marvellous about our relationship with Christ and it also says if you don’t understand the glory of your relationship with christ you will never be decent in your marriage.

It teaches us this about our relationship with christ.

  1. His love for us us not indifferent!  He is ravished with you. When you look at how a man falls in love with a woman and marries her u get a sense of how christ relates with you. he sets his heart on you with intensity. Its so daring that you don’t let yourself get the full bront of it. He sets his love on you he delights over you!
  2. Its an ‘inspire of’ love. He sees the blemishes and unworthiness and says I don’t care, I’m going to cover it and deal with it because I see the glorious person that you will be and he’s committed to that.
  3. Whenever you fall in love with someone you do everything for them. You can’t enjoy anything without that person. Jesus christ died for us, he does everything for us Romans 1.28. You won’t have a good marriage if you cannot be ravished with the love with which he is ravished with you.

Finally, he says that Christ’s love is authority. When you fall in love, you fall under the authority of that love. You have to make decisions with someone, there is an authority under which you come, you lose control when you have person in your life who loves you. When you lose control you also find yourself, you get completed and there’s nothing like losing yourself to the Lord Jesus. HE loves you and he is ravished with you. Christ competes you! He’s the ultimate spouse. Come in under his authority and let him complete you.

About Nimz

Hi I'm Nimz. I'm a portrait and documentary photographer and I love to write. I have just completed a Montessori course in Early Childhood Education and am working towards opening a Montessori Nursery in Lagos, Nigeria. My work can be found at website: instagram, twitter & persicope: @nimz_i.

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