Ephesians 5:33 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 5:33, NIV: However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33, ESV: However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:33, KJV: Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Ephesians 5:33, NASB: Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:33, NLT: So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33, CSB: To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

What does Ephesians 5:33 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul concludes his words on marriage in this verse, summarizing with two statements.

First, he repeats the admonition that men should love their wives—meaning in action, not only in emotion—as much as they would themselves. Husbands are to care for their wives with the same concern they show for maintaining their own interests. When husbands love their wives as themselves, they offer a marriage-focused application of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34–40).

This flies in the face of humanity's natural attitude towards men and women. Historically, most societies consider women inferior and less deserving of care than men. Women throughout world history have fared immeasurably better as Christianity replaced paganism. Today, women living in nations with a Christian heritage enjoy far more extensive rights than those living in nations without such a history.

Second, Paul teaches wives to be diligent in showing respect to their husbands. Again, this runs counter to many cultural preferences. Modern society, in particular, seems to revel in the idea of wives who are patronizing, disrespectful, or unreasonable towards their husbands. What some would call "empowerment," the Bible would consider poison. Mutual love, respect, unity, and submission are the recipe to a God–honoring marriage.

Given that Paul focuses such clear language on the foundation of Christian marriage, it is likely there were troubled marriages among the Ephesian believers. This is not surprising, given that many cultures, especially ancient Rome, taught a concept of marriage drastically out of step with God's intended plan.

A Christian marriage is not guaranteed to be without problems, yet there are godly solutions. Paul offers hope for those struggling to honor God in marriage, noting the example of Jesus as the standard for those who seek to show greater love between husbands and wives.