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The Drama of Marriage: What Christ and the Church Teaches Husbands and Wives (Ephesians 5:22

MORE THAN we can imagine_

Few things in life are more delightful and more difficult than marriage. And this week, as our church, returned to the book of Ephesians we picked up Paul’s Christ-centered teaching on marriage.

You can find the sermon online. Below there are discussion questions with additional resources that include some preliminary thoughts on marriage that fed into this weeks sermon.

Ephesians 5:22–33

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.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the best advice you’ve received about marriage? And how does it relate to Ephesians 5:22–33? What is similar and different about Paul’s approach to marriage?
  2. What was the culture of Ephesus like with respect to marriage? See Ephesians 4:19; 5:5, as well as this article. (Hint: there was no understanding of “traditional marriage”).
  3. Why might Paul’s gospel-centered approach to marriage be most effective to correct or challenge a culture where marriage is denied, distorted, or denigrated? If you are discipling a new believer about marriage, why should you start here, instead of listing biblical principles about marriage?
  4. What is the relationship between Ephesians 5:22–6:9 and Ephesians 5:15–21? Why is important to see the connection? What does it teach us?
  5. What does Paul say to wives? And how does he say it? Why is it important to see the manner in which he speaks of submission?
  6. How have you heard Ephesians 5:22–24 taught before? How does knowing the word “submit” is implied (not directly commanded) reshape your understanding? Compare Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1–7.
  7. What does Paul say to husbands? Why does he focus so much of his attention on Christ and the cross? Husbands, how have you learned to love your wives as your own body’s?
  8. What is the purpose of marriage according to Ephesians 5:31–32? What does it mean to display/dramatize the gospel in marriage? How do God’s instructions to husbands and wives serve that purpose?
  9. What is one action item to apply from Ephesians 5:22–33?

Additional Resources

On Ephesians

On Husbands and Wives

On Marriage and the Gospel

On Marriage and Culture

Displays of Christ-like Husbands

A Few Books

Soli Deo Gloria, ds