Does the Ephesians 5:21 passage support husbands submitting to their wives? In this sermon, we uncover what that verse means.
Many Christians have been deceived by egalitarian beliefs about “equality” among the sexes thereby blurring the roles between husband and wife. People are using Ephesians 5:21 to support the idea that husbands are to submit to their wives.
Here’s what the Bible says:
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:21-22)
In verse 21, submit means “to yield to one’s admonition or advice.” This is what true brothers in Christ must do among each other, not just everyone. Because notice right after that verse it tells wives to submit to their husbands.
Men are to submit to other men in Christ—listening to their advice. But wives are under their husbands in the family hierarchy; this is why verse 22 comes directly after verse 21. Husbands aren’t suppose to submit to their wives in the same way wives are to submit to their husbands or else that would violate the next verse (23).
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing (Ephesians 5:23-24).
Therefore, the husband is not to submit to his wife for she is his subordinate. The Scriptures further confirm the husband’s role in the relationship:
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Genesis 3:16)
So a husband is not to submit to his wife as a woman submits to her husband.
Can a husband consider advice from his wife? Yes. Just as a company manager listens to advice from his subordinates, so a husband can hear from his wife. But this doesn’t change the hierarchy in the company nor the relationship between men and women. The man has the final say. Let’s reject egalitarian ideas that pervert the roles of men and women in family and follow the order of God.