Troublesome Topic: This Is Not Optional Eph 5

Ephesians 5:23


for the husband is the head

Go to footnote number

of the wife, as also CHRIST is the head of the assembly of the called-out ones, He Himself being the Savior of the body.

Go to footnote number


because a husband is the leader of his wife in the same way that THE SPIRIT ANOINTED MESSIAH is the leader of the church, a role He deserves because He became the Savior of this body of people [through His own sacrifice].

Ephesians 5:24


But even as the assembly of the called-out ones arranges itself under CHRIST, so also the wives to their own husbands in everything.


In the same way that the church should place itself under the authority and leadership of THE SPIRIT-ANOINTED MESSIAH, so likewise a wife should place herself under the authority and leadership of her husband. She should do this in every aspect of their relationship


This passage paints a picture that is very clear. There is no way in which the followers of Jesus, the true church, can or should propel themselves into the lead above or in front of their Savior. That would be unthinkable. The same commitment and humility are expected of the wife toward her husband, not because the husband always gets it right, but because God has established authority structures with lines of authority which are one-way streets, not two-way streets. This is strong language and cannot be swept aside easily.

Can a woman have her own relationship with God? Absolutely, in fact she must. Can God speak to a woman without going through her husband? Yes, He can and He does. That is not what this is about; rather this is addressing the exercise of leadership authority in the setting of the home or a house church.

Can male leadership be abused? Yes, any type of authority can be abused. That will be dealt with in the next verse in a way that is even stronger than what was just said to the wife.

The next lesson is: A High Standard Eph 5



The Greek word meaning “head” can refer to a person or animal’s physical head, or in a figurative sense to a person with authority over others, a leader. Some claim that the word can also mean “source.” I agree with Wayne Gruden, who wrote an article called, “Does Kephalē (Head) Mean ‘Source’ or ‘authority over’ in Greek Literature? A Survey of 2,336 Examples.” The two primary points of his article were: 1) The support for the claim that “head” means “source” is surprisingly weak and unpersuasive; 2) The evidence to support the claim that “head” means “authority over” is substantial. His article was sharply criticized and therefore he has written a response to those criticisms. His entire response was published as Appendix A of the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. His response is quite thorough – 42 pages long.


Here it only mentions that Jesus is the Savior, it does not specifically say that He became our Savior by sacrificing His own life. However, it does not need to be spelled out because the sacrificial death of Jesus is such a central theme in the New Testament that it is enough to simply hint at it. For this reason I do mention the sacrifice of Jesus in my paraphrase, although in brackets. This idea of self-sacrifice will come up again very shortly.