Marriage Online Bible Study, Week 6: Gender Roles

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 6th sermon from the series on Marriage by Tim Keller. Below is a summary of the sixth part of the nine part 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.

This week we are talking about the role of husband and wife in marriage. Tim Keller says that  there’s a mutual submission and love but the commands in the bible are not the same. It’s true that they are one flesh but when you look at the two pieces separately they are not identical, equal but not equivalent.

Just to recap he said,

Why doesn’t deep oneness happen in marriage

  1. You have got to let your spouse deal with you about your flaws and blemishes, if you are touchy and refuse to let him or her in then you are denying the one flesh potential and the possibility to be presented spotless and without blemish.
  2. Your spouse has the ability to reprogram your self image and appreciation because your spouse has a tremendous power over how you think about yourself. You therefore have the chance to choose wisely what you will do with that ability. Build one another up and affirm one another and this builds oneness.
  3. You have got to recognise that neither of you can act independently of the other. On the body, the neck and heard turn together. You can have your own interests of course but when it comes to important life issues and decisions, you have to do the hard work of consensus building. It doesn’t matter how you define authority the head is not independent of the body, they have to turn together. The holy spirit will not tell one spouse something and not tell or prepare the other spouse or tell you to do anything independent of your spouse. You really become something new not two entities cohabiting.

He went on the say that one fleshness also develops along temperamental lines and gender lines. The traditional temperaments are Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic. Temperaments are habitual ways in which you deal with the world. You either see the world as a friendly place or a dangerous place along one axis and you can decide to get out there and act upon the world or lay back and wait for things to happen and then react along the second axis.personality-tests

Tim Keller goes on to say that we develop temperaments because we are not wise enough to be versatile. He explains that none of these temperaments is the perfect way to be. Jesus had no temperament because he was all knowing. He was exactly what he needed to be as the situation demanded. We have habitual ways we deal with the world and when you get married you  are forced to see the world though the eyes of another temperament which has a profound impact on your wisdom. Because of your temperament, you habitually react in a certain way but as you spend time with your spouse, you also know how your spouse would react.  So now you have two options and you can slow down and think which reaction would be better in any particular situation. Over time your temperamnet actually changes.

Only the husband is told to love, only the wife is told to respect. This doesn’t mean that a wife shouldn’t love or a husband should not submit. What it means is that in the marriage they are both building each other up in a different way. Being a woman and a man are different callings. There’s obvious mutuality and equality but there’s not interchangeability or eqivalency. Put a female CEO and male CEO in the same environment and given the same targets, they will both achieve the same goal but with different approaches. A man manages different from a woman and being a male and being a female are two ways to be human but by themselves are somewhat unbalanced and incomplete. Adam was made perfect but was still lonely in the garden till he saw Eve. There’s a complimentary nature in males and females. He further explains that all of Jesus attributes haven’t been given to men women in the same way. Men and women can both be say hero’s and nurturers, but not in the same way.

When the bible says to the husbands ‘be men’,  it says look a Jesus. See how he died for his church and manages everything in his life for the church. Men, you have to realise it’s your job to take authority but not an oppressive authority. Jesus was able to die for you and did nothing but what brings about your joy and perfections. That’s not an oppressive authority. The bible say to be feminine is to be a help. Women, use your power in such a way that it enables and empowers others.  That enables instead of replaces him. A woman can only ‘help’ if there are things that she can do that he cannot. In those situations are where she has superior power. The wife brings to bear on the husband the things he knows that she can do that he can’t… she’s superior to him in certain ways and so enables and empowers him and with time, the two become one flesh. Where does a woman look for her model? She looks to Jesus too. HE is the perfect masculine and feminine being, the paragon of both feminine and masculine power. Neither gender is more fundamentally divine. Both the power and tenderness of Jesus have come alive in your lives and if you understand the gospel you can understand what it is to love your spouse and your neighbour, and how you can be one flesh. Look to Jesus and he will complete you.

Are you incomplete if you are not married. Marriage is an analogy for the great marriage of Jesus to the church. The real sanctifier is Jesus. Jesus is the real helper the real completer. The real the difference between being married and being single is not as great as it ought to be. Marriage is not as sanctifying or completing as marriage could be. If you are not married and you want to be, look at him and you will see in him the completion and the perfection of your souls.

Don’t forget to join our bible study this evening at <strong>8.30 PM GMT +1 / 7.30 PM in London. </strong>It’s an interactive online bible study <strong><a href=””>HERE ON FACEBOOK</a></strong>. I look forward to fellowshipping and praying with you for our marriages.

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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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