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Ephesians 5:22

ESV Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
NIV Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
NASB Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
CSB Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord,
NLT For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
KJV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

What does Ephesians 5:22 mean?

This verse begins a new section, extending through verse 33, on the topic of wives and husbands. Paul has just mentioned the importance of mutual submission between all believers, in verse 21. Here, he specifically applies this principle within the context of marriage.

He begins with wives. Ephesians 5:22–24 is often taken drastically out of context, and grossly misinterpreted. First, wives are to submit to their own husband. Women are not commanded to submit in a similar way to all men. However, all believers are called to practice a form of humble submission to one another, as noted in verse 21.

Second, this principle is applied specifically within marriage. Those in dating relationships, social or employment contexts, or a woman with respect to another woman's husband are not included. Those male-female relationships do not carry the same level of expectation Paul shares in this verse.

Third, submission is based on being "as to the Lord." In other words, submission is not based on the character or performance of the other individual. Instead, there is an unconditional treatment of the husband based on love for him and for God. Wives are to show love to their husbands regardless of whether they feel the husband "deserves" it. Though perhaps extremely difficult at times, this is the biblical ideal.

It should also be noted that this deals with marriage, not abuse. Anyone in an abusive situation must seek personal safety as first priority. Nothing in Paul's teachings, here or elsewhere in the Bible, commands a woman to keep herself or her children physically available for spousal abuse.
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