Marriage to the Praise of God’s Glory (Eph 5:21-33)

This past Sunday I had the tremendous burden responsibility to teach on the roles of husbands and wives as taught by Paul in Ephesians 5:21-33.

Seeing as I am young, a man, and have only been married for 6 (and a half) years, this topic was daunting at best and downright scary at worst. However, I was blessed to have an extra 15-18 hours to put into preparation this week and I was very happy with what I put together. My goal was not to wax eloquent of my own experience, but to interpret faithfully in light of its context in Ephesians and to honor what God has set up for the glory of marriage and the picture of Christ and the church. I hope you’ll give it a listen, but also I have been asked to put my outline and some of the key definitions and statements on here so that others can use them.

(Tomorrow I hope to put up some links to various sermons, articles and books that I consulted in addition to my great commentaries.)

MP3 Download

PDF of Marriage to the Praise of God’s Glory (a much more extensive outline to help you in your study)


Christian marriage is at its best (most freeing, most satisfying and reflective of Christ and the church) when it is founded in the divine ordering of creation and God’s specific calling to each spouse.


  1. The surrounding cultures had a low view towards women and marriage
  2. Paul has already laid the foundation of equality between men and women
  3. Paul has already laid the foundation of proper Christian behavior among believers AND this also applies to husbands and wives

Submission is not: (the “Nots” are largely taken from Sexual Complimentarity by John Piper)

Submission does not mean agreeing with everything your husband says. His word is not absolute, only Christ’s word is absolute. BUT it does mean listening and providing your input and wisdom in a respectful way.

Submission does not mean leaving your brain or your will at the wedding altar. God wants your submission to be free, willing, glad, refining and strengthening; your brain and will are very necessary.

Submission does not mean avoiding effort to change your husband. BUT it does mean you don’t berate him or dominate him into changing, but rather invite him and encourage him toward greatness.

Submission does not mean putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ. AND it certainly does not mean following him into sin.

Submission does not mean acting out of slavish fear toward the husband. NOR to put up with any sort of abuse.

Submission is not a right of the husband, but a responsibility and calling of the wife.

Submission is:

“Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.” (Sexual Complimentarity, John Piper)

Headship is not:

Headship is not something to be made known. It is a calling to sacrificially serve.

Headship, characterized by loving service, does not mean always giving in to what your wife wishes. Just as she is not to follow him into sin, he must not serve her by participating with her in wrong.

Headship is not optional for Christian husbands. They cannot rightly opt out of family leadership or become passive nonparticipants in decisions and activities.

Headship is:

“Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home.” (Sexual Complimentarity, John Piper)

And remember, that marriage at its best should always drive us to worship Christ.


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