Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 6:9

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Καὶ οἱ κύριοι, τὰ αὑτὰ ποιεῖτε πρὸς αὐτούς, ἀνιέντες τὴν ἀπειλήν, εἰδότες ὅτι καὶ αὐτῶν καὶ ὑμῶν ὁ κύριός ἐστιν ἐν οὐρανοῖς καὶ προσωπολημψία οὐκ ἔστιν παρ᾽ αὐτῷ. And masters, do the same to them, ceasing threatening, knowing that also theirs and your Master is in heaven and partiality is not from him.

After having addressed the slaves, now Paul turns to the masters. He instructs masters to “do the same” to the slaves. Does this mean they are to obey the slaves? To do good as the slaves do? This phrase indicates that the masters were to fulfill their roles in the same way that the slaves fulfilled theirs, that is, they were to do the will of God wholeheartedly as though their actions were performed in service to Christ. They are not to rule their slaves by means of threats. Abusive leadership has no place in leadership done for Christ. They “do the same” by ceasing threatening their slaves. Why should they stop threatening their slaves? Because the heavenly Master, who is not only the Master of the masters but also of the slaves, does not show partiality (“partiality is not from him”). In other words, the Master will not be partial with the masters. He will be even-handed with the masters and the slaves.

And masters, do the same things to them, by ceasing threatening them, because you also know that theirs and your Master is in heaven and partiality is not from him.

If slavery is not a common thing in America today, what good is this verse for us? Many of us feel like slaves on the job. Those who are in administrative positions would do well to heed this verse. Managers, bosses, and the like should out of reverence for Christ, out of devotion and service to the Lord, deal respectfully with their employees, which excludes threatening them in order to get them to perform. Bribery or blackmail, threats of indirect or direct physical harm or destruction of property, or even verbal abuse should have no place for Christian masters. Honor God with your actions. Choose to treat your employees with the highest level of respect. When it all comes down to it, administrators and employees, or masters and slaves, will all be dealt with by God without partiality. Christians are all going to be held accountable by God, regardless of their financial, economic, social, or political statuses. We need to remember that God cares about how we interact with each other. Therefore, it is imperative that we treat each other with the love Christ demands of us.

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Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 6:5-8

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Οἱ δοῦλοι, ὑπακούετε τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου ἐν ἁπλότητι τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν ὡς τῷ Χριστῷ, μὴ κατ᾽ ὀφθαλμοδουλίαν ὡς ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι ἀλλ᾽ ὡς δοῦλοι Χριστοῦ ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκ ψυχῆς, μετ᾽ εὐνοίας δουλεύοντες ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώποις, εἰδότες ὅτι ἕκαστος ἐάν τι ποιήσῃ ἀγαθόν, τοῦτο κομίσεται παρὰ κυρίου εἴτε δοῦλος εἴτε ἐλεύθερος. Slaves, obey according to the fleshly lords with fear and trembling in sincerity of your heart as to Christ, not with eye-service as people-pleasers but as servants of Christ doing the will of God from the soul, with a good attitude serving as a slave as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that each one if he might do what is good, this he will receive from the Lord whether a slave or a free man.

After having addressed husband and wife relationships, and parents and children relationships, Paul now turns to the relationship between masters and slaves. As before, the non-authoritative party is not addressed first. Paul instructs the slaves to obey the lords (masters) in accordance with the flesh, which is to say, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters . . .” He instructs slaves to obey with fear and trembling. This phrase highlights that the obedience is to be rendered with respect for the masters. Furthermore, slaves are to obey with sincerity of the heart. This word, ἁπλότητι, “sincerity,” literally means “singleness.” Slaves are to have a single purpose, not a dual intention with ulterior motives; they are to be sincere when they serve their masters, because such service is rendered as service to Christ. They are not to perform eye-service. Eye-service, ὀφθαλμοδουλίαν, marks insincere service or service rendered for the sake of making a good impression while the master is watching. Paul instructs the slaves not to render service in this manner. Those who perform eye-service are only people-pleasers. Paul says not to be a people-pleaser, but instead serve Christ and so please God. Slaves are to serve Christ, which is God’s will. By serving Christ, slaves are doing God’s will. But they are to do this will from the soul. This phrase, ἐκ ψυχῆς, “from the soul,” is a reference to one’s inner inclination. Not only are they to obey their masters with sincerity of their hearts, but they are also to serve Christ and do the will of the Lord being motivated from the inside. Christian slaves are to be motivated not by external factors, such as eye-service, but from internal conditions, such as a sincere heart seeking to serve, honor, and respect Christ. We can translate ἐκ ψυχῆς to be “wholeheartedly,” but remember that it really emphasizes the will of the inner center of a person. Not only should slaves obey with a sincere heart, and serve and do the will of God wholeheartedly, but they are also to serve with a good attitude. Still, their service is rendered as though it were to the Lord and not to men. Furthermore, slaves are to know that every one that does what is good will receive the same from the Lord whether a slave or a free person.

Note the use of the participles in this section. The first thought of the sentence is, “Obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling with a sincere heart.” Our first participle, ποιοῦντες, appearing close in proximity to δοῦλοι, is actually related to the main verb, ὑπακούετε. It is functioning as a participle of means (“. . . obey . . . as slaves of Christ by doing the will of God wholeheartedly . . .”). The second participle, δουλεύοντες, is likewise a participle of means (“. . . obey . . . as slaves of Christ . . . by serving with a good attitude . . .”). Obedience with fear and trembling and with a sincere heart is therefore defined as doing the will of God and serving with a good attitude. But why were they to obey? The third participle, εἰδότες, functions as a causal participle. It gives the cause or reason for the obedience (“. . . obey . . . because you know that . . .”). The slaves can obey their earthly masters because they know that the Master will reward them for the good that they do.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling with sincerity from your heart as to Christ, not for the purpose of eye-service as people-pleasers but as slaves of Christ, by doing the will of God wholeheartedly, by serving as slaves with a good attitude as to the Lord and not to men, because you know that each one, if what he does is good, will receive the same from the Lord whether he is a slave or a free person.

Slavery in America is not very common, if it exists at all. Perhaps prostitutes could be called slaves. In reality, this portion of Ephesians does not have much of a direct application for Americans as did its exhortations for wives, husbands, children, and parents. However, many of us feel like slaves on the job. It is important that when we work for our employers that we obey them as though we are serving Christ. We can respect our employers and obey them with a sincere heart. We do not obey them so as to win favor with men, but so that we can please God. We should not go above and beyond our job description for the mere sake of pleasing our bosses, but instead, we ought to seek to honor Christ in the way we behave and conduct ourselves at work, so that even our job becomes a spiritual activity. We should work with a good attitude, not fulfilling our tasks begrudgingly as though we have to do them, but with a newfound motivation as though we were doing them for the Lord. The Lord has promised to repay us for the good that we do, and therefore we can obey our employers. Be diligent to obey the demands and requests of your jobs. Fill out the forms, file the worksheets, enter the data into the computer, sort products, create spreadsheets, cut the lawns, wash the cars, and flip the burgers as though it were your spiritual act of devotion to Christ. Whatever your task is on the job, do not forget that your labor is ultimately done for Christ, so do it sincerely, wholeheartedly, and with a good attitude, for the job you do while here on earth is not done for men but for the Lord.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 6:4

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Καὶ οἱ πατέρες, μὴ παροργίζετε τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν ἀλλὰ ἐκτρέφετε αὐτὰ ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ κυρίου. And fathers, do not provoke your children but raise them up in the discipline and warning of the Lord.

After having instructed children, Paul now instructs fathers. He exhorts the fathers not to provoke their children to anger. Instead, they are to raise them up or nourish them with the discipline and warning of the Lord. This word, παιδείᾳ, “discipline,” refers to instruction regarding responsible living. The other word, νουθεσίᾳ, “warning,” refers to instruction against improper living. Both types of instruction are “of the Lord.” This genitive, κυρίου, is a genitive of quality or an attributive genitive that attributes a quality to the nouns. We can translate it this way: “. . . but raise them up in Christian discipline and admonition.” Fathers are expected to raise up their children with proper Christian instruction, both what they should do and what they should avoid.

And fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in Christian discipline and admonition.

Christians are not only to learn about godly living from Sunday school classes, but they are also to learn about godly living in the home. Parents are responsible for passing on Christian instruction as well as pastors. Parents, how are we doing? Are we responsibly and actively training up our children in the way that they should go? Are we teaching our children not only about the forgiveness that God has provided in Jesus, but also of the right way to live? Are we showing our kids what to do and what not to do? Even closer to home, by our own examples, how are we doing? Are our lives setting the right example of what do to and what not to do? For instance, dads, are you loving your wives sacrificially? You are setting the example for your children by how you treat your wives. Be careful to set a good example, for children’s little eyes absorb, learn, and implement their parents actions. It is not enough to tell our children how to live. We also have to practice what we preach, for our actions take part in instructing our kids.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 6:2-3

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τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα, ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ, ἵνα εὖ σοι γένηται καὶ ἔσῃ μακροχρόνιος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Honor your father and mother, which is the first command in a promise, that it might be good to you and you will be long-lived upon the earth.

Paul qualifies his instruction for children to obey their parents with this quotation from the Septuagint. He is quoting Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16. However, the quotation is not exact. The last clause, καὶ ἔσῃ μακροχρόνιος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, is more of a summary and does not quote the Scriptures verbatim. In any case, Paul is drawing on the authority of Scripture to qualify his instruction. Scripture teaches children to honor their parents. Obedience and honor are therefore synonymous for Paul. A son that obeys his mother is also honoring her. Paul adds his own commentary amidst the quotation with these words: “. . . which is the first command with a promise, . . .” There is a benefit to honoring one’s own parents. God has made a promise to those who honor their parents. Those who honor their parents do so for the purpose that their lives will be well and that they will live a long life upon the earth. A lifestyle of dishonor, constant disobedience, to the parents was punishable by death (Deut. 21:18-21). God was concerned with purging evil from the people in Deuteronomy. Dishonor was punished. Honor was rewarded. He had a behavioral economy set in place to help motivate their actions. By mentioning that the command for children to honor their parents was the first command with a promise, Paul is effectively emphasizing the benefit of the command. God has promised blessings, not curses, for those who honor their parents.

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first command with a promise, “in order that it might be well with you and you might live a long life upon the earth.”

When God gives us instructions, it is not to spoil the party. God instructs us for our own benefit. By following what he has commanded us to do, we are placing ourselves into God’s blessings. Likewise, children who obey God’s command, to honor their parents, place themselves under God’s blessings. It’s for their own benefit. Life will go well when they obey. They can avoid being grounded. They can avoid harming themselves. They can receive full rewards for their obedience, such as fulfilling chores. But when they disobey, they can hurt themselves, they can be punished by being grounded, or losing some of their weekly pay for not doing their chores as they were instructed. If they are not keeping their parents happy, then their life will likewise be distraught. It is a reciprocal relationship. God has, in his wisdom, stated that it will be well for children who honor their parents, and has promised that they will live long upon the earth. It is simply in the children’s best interests to obey their parents.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 6:1

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Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν ὑμῶν ἐν κυρίῳ· τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν δίκαιον. Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.

After having addressed the marriage relationship in light of the instruction for all believers to submit to one another, Paul turns to the child and parent relationship next. He addresses the children first. He instructs the children to obey their parents. This word, ὑπακούετε, “you obey,” is somewhat synonymous with submission, but it bears the idea of willful obedience to requests more so than it does willfully placing oneself under someone else. Nonetheless, willful obedience implies willful submission.

Note the textual variant here. The prepositional phrase, ἐν κυρίῳ, “in the Lord,” is omitted by several witnesses (B, F, G, b, the original hand of D, Cyprian, Ambrosiaster, and apparently Marcion according to Tertullian). However, this phrase is included by the rest of the textual witnesses (Papyrus 46, א, A, 33, 1739, the first corrector of D, the Majority Text, the Vulgate, and the entire Armenian, Syriac, and Coptic traditions are some of these witnesses). If Marcion’s reading is correct, then the earliest support omits the phrase. But Papyrus 46 is not far behind Marcion, and it includes the phrase. If it was not part of the original text, it is easy to see why it would be added. Both wives and slaves are instructed to submit or obey “as to the Lord” or “as to Christ.” For stylistic reasons, it would have been tempting to add in something similar to these phrases regarding the instruction for children to obey, if the phrase was originally omitted. However, if it was added in at a later date for stylistic reasons, why not then use a similar formula (ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ/Χριστῷ)? The prepositional phrase in question in Eph. 6:1 does not bear a striking stylistic connection as it is a different construction. Why then is it there if it does not bear a striking similarity with the other constructions? In all likelihood, it is probably original. It does have early support, it has widest support, and the phrase itself is not inconsistent with the style of Ephesians. Since the explanation that it was added later is not satisfactory, and given the other factors previously mentioned, we can accept the prepositional phrase to be the original reading.

Just as wives were instructed to willfully submit as to the Lord, i.e., in service to the Lord, so also are children instructed to willfully obey in the Lord. Children’s service to the Lord is seen in their obedience to their parents. Paul adds that this obedience is right, meaning that it is the fulfillment of certain legal or social obligations (“lawful,” “just,” or “right”).

Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.

It’s important that children learn to obey their parents. It is a social obligation. If children are unruly in the home, they will likewise be unruly in public. But from a religious perspective, their obedience is essential, for it is part of their service to Christ. They can serve Christ by obeying their parents. When their parents make requests of them, they should listen to the request and then do as requested. This action should not be done with a sour attitude. It is an opportunity to serve Christ, and therefore it ought to be done with a cheerful heart! Doing household chores, following quick instructions in public, even following a parent’s discipline are all examples not simply of obedience but also of service, for to obey one’s parents is to serve Christ. What an opportunity!

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 5:33

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πλὴν καὶ ὑμεῖς οἱ καθ᾽ ἕνα, ἕκαστος τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα οὕτως ἀγαπάτω ὡς ἑαυτόν, ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἵνα φοβῆται τὸν ἄνδρα. Nevertheless, also, you each one, let each so love his own wife as himself, but the wife in order to fear the husband.

Paul now gives a short restatement of his exhortations to both the husbands and the wives. He begins with πλὴν. This word is functioning to break the current argument in order to give what is important. It is not contrasting what came before it. Therefore, we can simply translate it as “Now.” The next word, καὶ, is not functioning as a coordinating conjunction. Instead, it is simply marking additional content. In this way, Paul begins his summary statement with these words: “Now also, . . .” The next phrase is quite intriguing.

“. . . you each one, let each . . .” is a very rough translation of the Greek text. The location of the comma between ἕνα and ἕκαστος is confusing. Why does the article follow ὑμεῖς? What is κατά doing in the phrase (i.e., how is it functioning)? The phrase emphasizes the group, ὑμεῖς, “you,” by placing it first. The preposition, κατά, “each,” is functioning distributively here. We can therefore translate καθ᾽ ἕνα as “individually.” Furthermore, the article preceding κατά is not only referencing back to ὑμεῖς but it is also part of the distributive phrase, καθ᾽ ἕνα. We should take the article with the distributive phrase while realizing that it links the phrase as a reference to ὑμεῖς (literally, “. . . you, the ones individually, . . .”). But what do we make of ἕκαστος? There is normally an emphatic force with κατά + εἶς + ἕκαστος. However, this force comes only when we have matching cases. In this instance, we have an accusative, ἕνα, plus a nominative, ἕκαστος. These words cannot be understood together as an emphatic distributive phrase. Instead, they are separate. Paul starts with the group, transitions focus to the individual, and then instructs every individual. If we were to translate this phrase literally, it would be given this way: “. . . you, the ones individually, let each one . . .” But this translation is awkward. If we understand the phrase idiomatically with a special emphasis on the group, we can translate it with these words: “. . . let each one of you . . .” The subject of the text is in fact the group, but Paul is singling out every individual in that group all at once with the same instruction.

Paul instructs the husband to love his wife as himself. We have here a οὕτως . . . ὡς . . . construction. In what way will the husband love his wife? The answer is, “as himself.” It is understood that they all love themselves. Now they need to love their wives as themselves as well.

Paul then instructs the individual wife. Paul uses a ἵνα + subjunctive clause. This clause is not marking purpose, but instead, it is a subjunctive clause bearing the force of a command. Therefore, we should translate it, “. . . but let the wife fear the husband.” The article preceding ἄνδρα implies possession, so we can translate it as “her husband.” The wife is not to fear the husband in the sense that she fears for her life. Instead, this command bears the idea of reverence and respect, and it calls to mind the submission of Eph. 5:21. Wives are being commanded to respect their husbands, which implies voluntary submission.

Now also, let each one of you love his own wife as himself, but let the wife respect her husband.

Every husband has been instructed to love his own wife as himself. Wives have been instructed to respect their husbands. In truth, the act of the husband loving his wife and the wife respecting her husband is a prime example of the call for believers to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. It is part of one’s Christian duty. We are to live in such a way that we please God with our actions. One of the things that is expected of us is mutual submission. We do this not because we owe it to each other, but because we want to serve and honor Christ. To submit to someone else is to serve Christ. Therefore, such submission bears a great responsibility. Husbands are called to love their wives as themselves. Leviticus 19:18 rings loud and clear, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In the husband’s case, his wife is his neighbor. But the wife is to respect her husband. She actively chooses to place herself under her husband’s authority. This choice is done of her own accord, but out of service to Christ. We need to realize that the way we live and interact with each other has a significant place in our relationship to God and with Christ. We should put our actions to the test, making sure that all that we do is pleasing to God, even in our own marriages.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 5:32

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τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο μέγα ἐστίν· ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω εἰς Χριστὸν καὶ εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. This is a great mystery; but I speak to Christ and to the church.

After having quoted from Genesis 2:24, Paul makes a statement with these words: “This is a great mystery.” Since the noun contains the article but μέγα is anarthrous, we have to translate it as a predicate adjective. As a result, we must translate the phrase in this way: “This mystery is great.” Paul is specifically referring to Christ and the church when he is speaking of the “mystery.” He says, “. . . but I am speaking to Christ and the church.” The preposition, εἰς, is used as a marker of reference, so that we translate the phrase in this way: “. . . but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” Paul understands that the union between Christ and the church is a mystery. Earlier, in Eph. 3, Paul had referenced the union between the Judeans with the non-Judeans as a mystery. This term, mystery, refers to the new person in Christ. But now this term is being used in reference to the union between Christ and the church. The word μυστήριον is consistently being used in reference to unions, but its context is not the same. The first instance refers to the Judean and non-Judean union in Christ. The second refers to Christ’s union with the church. Both are a mystery. But both are part of God’s plan of salvation. The former refers to God’s work–he has joined the Judeans with the non-Judeans. The latter refers to Christ’s love–he has sacrificially loved the church and has taken it as his bride. It is this latter mystery, which is part of God’s overall plan of salvation, that provides the basis for the instruction for husbands to love their wives.

This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

Husbands, you are called to love your wives precisely because Christ loves the church. Christ’s love for the church is described as a mystery just as the union between the Judeans and the non-Judeans is likewise described. What is not a mystery is your responsibility to love your wives. Christ has been joined to the church, and you have been joined to your wives. Take care of them as Christ takes care of the church. Resort to tender care and sacrificial love with your wives. And remember, it is in your benefit to love your wives in this way.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 5:31

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ἀντὶ τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν παρέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν. For this reason a man will leave the father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will be into one flesh.

After having stated that a husband should love his wife in the same way that he loves his body, just as Christ does for the church, Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 from the Septuagint. He quotes, “For this reason . . .” Husbands do not hate their wives but nourish and care for them. Instead, they love their wives, because they are joined together with their wives as one person. The quote continues, “. . . a man will leave his father and mother . . .” The word “his” is not in this portion of the text. In fact, there are two similar variants that should be addressed. A handful of witnesses do not have the articles preceding “father” and “mother” (B, F, G, and the original hand of D). However, the rest of the witnesses include the article (Papyrus 46, א, Origen, 1739, al). Since the article is not disputed preceding “wife” later in the sentence, it is at least possible that the aforementioned articles were inserted at a later date for stylistic reasons. Although it is plausible that the articles were added later, it seems less probable, for the original text being quoted has the articles. Then again, the Septuagint also includes αὐτοῦ after “father.” Without αὐτοῦ, the articles seem to be necessary to bring a sense of definiteness. Since the Septuagint included the articles, because the article does precede “wife” later in the sentence, and since the overwhelming majority of the witnesses include the articles, we are concluding that they were probably the original reading. As a result, based on the phrase τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ, we can supply “his” in regards to the “father” and the “mother.” The quotation in full thus far is, “A man will leave his father and his mother and will be joined to his wife.” A man leaves and then is joined. “He will leave,” καταλείψει, bears the idea of desertion and separation. He is leaving his parents behind for his wife. “He will be joined,” προσκολληθήσεται, bears the idea of being glued or stuck to something. A man becomes glued to his wife. He leaves and then cleaves. This cleaving results in a union in which the man and the woman are joined together, so that the two become one. The preposition εἰς + accusative here seems to be the result of a Semitic influence, so instead of translating it as “and the two will be into one flesh,” we should change it to read “and the two will become one flesh.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

Husbands, you have been joined to your wives. You have been glued to them. You have been united with your wives into new persons. You and your wives are one. Treat them as you would treat yourselves, for you are no longer two separate individuals, but rather you are one person! How do you want to be treated? You should treat your wives in the same way. You would want to have food and clothing for yourselves, so also provide food and clothing for your wives. You might want provision for your mental well-being, such as time to sit in front of the television. But your wives might want provision for their own mental well-being, such as spending time with you talking without any sort of distractions. It is important that you make provisions for both. Remember, to love your wives is to love your own bodies. It is to your benefit to love your wives, for after all the two of you are no longer separate individuals but two halves to the whole. To care for your wives is to care for the whole. You simply cannot go wrong when you love your wives.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 5:29-30

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Οὐδεὶς γάρ ποτε τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα ἐμίσησεν ἀλλὰ ἐκτρέφει καὶ θάλπει αὐτήν, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ὅτι μέλη ἐσμὲν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ. For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as also Christ the church, because we are a members of his body.

Paul continues his analogy here about the husband loving himself. He stated before that loving one’s wife is the equivalent to loving one’s self. Now Paul adds that no one hates his flesh, but instead cares for it by nourishing and cherishing it. But this analogy is still tied to Christ’s own example. Paul states that Christ also nourishes and cherishes the church. Christ cares for the church in this way because the church is Christ’s body. Paul identifies himself among the members of the church, saying, “. . . for we are members of his body.” Collectively, we are all included as the body of Christ. As the body, Christ loves us and cares for us.

For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as also Christ cares for the church, because we are members of his body.

Husbands, you do not hate your flesh, do you? You do not neglect your body by ignoring its hunger, disregarding its painful sensations, or withholding it from rest, do you? No, you feed yourselves, you pamper yourself when you are not feeling well, and you make sure to sleep on a nightly basis. You do not hate your flesh. In the same way, you should care for your wives. Provide the food that they need, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. And cherish your wives just as you do your own bodies. This command is not simply linked to nature, for it is what Christ himself does for his bride, the church. Follow Christ’s example. Care for your own bodies, that is, your wives. Furthermore, recognize this very thing: we are all members of Christ’s body, both male and female, husbands and wives. Remember that we are all equals in this regard. Therefore, do not treat your wives as inferior beings. Uphold them in high esteem. In Christ, we are all on equal footing.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 5:28b

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ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ. The one who loves the wive of himself loves himself.

Paul now restates the husband’s duty in reflexive terms. As already stated, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. They are to treat their wives as they treat their own bodies, that is, with nourishment, encouragement, and preservation. Now Paul puts it this way: the one who loves his own wife loves himself. The husband’s duty goes full circle. To love one’s own wife is the equivalent to loving one’s own self. If a husband loves his own wife, then he is actually loving himself. It is in the husband’s best interest to love his wife.

The one who loves his own wife loves himself.

Husbands are called to love their wives, and this action is a result of being filled by the Spirit. Husbands, realize this very thing, that when you love your wives, you are really loving yourselves. It has been said, “Happy wife, happy life.” You are doing yourselves a favor by loving your wives. And this love is a conscious choice of the will. We are not talking about falling in love, although it is not excluded from the conversation. You need to choose on a daily basis to love your wives, just as you do to choose to take care of your own bodies. You choose to feed yourselves with food, entertainment, and friendships. You choose to provide for your own bodies physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Do not neglect to choose to invest in your wives by providing for them and placing their interests, concerns, desires, and needs above your own.