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Daily Devotional

November 10

Wives, Submit ... Husbands, Submit

by Charles and Norma Ellis

Bible Reading:

Ephesians 5:17-33

17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23For 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.
24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Devotional:

The main thrust of this section is found in the command: 'Be filled with the Spirit!' (5:18). In explanation, Paul appends several ways in which this filling with the Spirit is to be manifested: 'speaking ... singing ... giving thanks ... submitting' (5:19-21). In verse 22 he begins to amplify the matter of submitting, wives being first mentioned. But let us not forget that the apostle is here describing what it means to be 'filled with the Spirit.'

What about the submission wives owe to their husbands? Just as surely as God made men and women the same for communion and union, and the same essentially in His eyes through Christ, just as surely in His economy He made them to have different functions. The husband is to lead, in love, even in the matter of Christian growth. The wife is to follow, to submit to him in reverence. A marriage is not complete in God unless both of these aspects are present. If a woman is bristling under the command of God to submit, perhaps the man is not leading her, teaching her and loving her as his own body, or as Christ leads and teaches and loves the church.

However, husbands should refer back to verse 21! In a sense, they should as Christians be submissive to their Christian wives in a horizontal relationship under God! In this sense every Christian is to be submissive to every other Christian, seeking in humility to regard others as better than himself.

And the first duty of husband and wife alike is submission to God! They are the wife, remember, and He is their Husband.

How is it with us? Maybe we should be asking whether we really know what it means to be 'filled with the Spirit.'


We are happy to have obtained permission to post as our current daily devotional Heirs Together of Life: Daily Bible Reading for Husbands and Wives, published by The Banner of Truth Trust. Don't be misled by the subtitle. As the book's "Preface" indicates (see below), although Heirs Together of Life is "especially prepared for couples,"the authors declare, "Since the basis for this guide is God's Word, we believe it would have value for any reader."

Charles and Norma Ellis are husband and wife and the authors not only of Heirs Together of Life (which was first published in 1980 and continues in print today), but also of Wells of Salvation (first published in 1985, and likewise still in print today). The latter contains a series of short studies covering the entire book of Isaiah, while the former contains a series of almost 200 short studies covering the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Both books by the Ellises can be ordered from the publisher, The Banner of Truth Trust. We trust that these daily Bible readings, posted daily on our site, will be helpful to you in your Christian walk before God. Whether married or not, all of us are members of families and members of the family of God.

Charles Ellis was educated at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Westminster (where he earned not only a Th.B. but also a Th.M.), he was ordained to the ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and pastored a number of OPC churches, including Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey; First OPC in Cincinnati, Ohio; Covenant OPC in East Orange, New Jersey; Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Lakeview OPC in Rockport, Maine. Less biographical information is available about his wife, but it is known that they served as parents of seven children. After retiring from the ministry, Charles Ellis went to be with the Lord in 2003, but he and his wife left us with a beautiful legacy in the two books they have given to the world, and we are proud to share the daily Bible readings from Heirs Together of Life here with you.

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