Few things in life are more delightful and more difficult than marriage. And this week, as our church, returned to the book of Ephesians we picked up Paul’s Christ-centered teaching on marriage.
You can find the sermon online. Below there are discussion questions with additional resources that include some preliminary thoughts on marriage that fed into this weeks sermon.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
- What is the best advice you’ve received about marriage? And how does it relate to Ephesians 5:22–33? What is similar and different about Paul’s approach to marriage?
- What was the culture of Ephesus like with respect to marriage? See Ephesians 4:19; 5:5, as well as this article. (Hint: there was no understanding of “traditional marriage”).
- Why might Paul’s gospel-centered approach to marriage be most effective to correct or challenge a culture where marriage is denied, distorted, or denigrated? If you are discipling a new believer about marriage, why should you start here, instead of listing biblical principles about marriage?
- What is the relationship between Ephesians 5:22–6:9 and Ephesians 5:15–21? Why is important to see the connection? What does it teach us?
- What does Paul say to wives? And how does he say it? Why is it important to see the manner in which he speaks of submission?
- How have you heard Ephesians 5:22–24 taught before? How does knowing the word “submit” is implied (not directly commanded) reshape your understanding? Compare Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1–7.
- What does Paul say to husbands? Why does he focus so much of his attention on Christ and the cross? Husbands, how have you learned to love your wives as your own body’s?
- What is the purpose of marriage according to Ephesians 5:31–32? What does it mean to display/dramatize the gospel in marriage? How do God’s instructions to husbands and wives serve that purpose?
- What is one action item to apply from Ephesians 5:22–33?
- Marriage: Counter-Cultural in Every Generation
- Washed by the Water of the Word: How Paul Applies Ezekiel’s Words on Marriage to Christ and the Church
- A Radically New Humanity: The Function of the Haustafel [Household Codes] in Ephesians by Timothy Gombis — a journal article from JETS (2005)
- What Does ‘Submit in Everything’ Really Mean? The Nature and Scope of Marital Submission by Steven Tracy — a journal article from Trinity Journal (2008)
On Husbands and Wives
- Kephalē and Context: Toward a Biblical Understanding of Headship
- Established by Creation: Nine Reasons for Biblical Complementarity
On Marriage and the Gospel
- Sex Tells the Gospel
- Marriage, Gender Roles, and the Great Commission (Part 1)
- Marriage, Gender Roles, and the Great Commission (Part 2)
On Marriage and Culture
- The Enduring Goodness of Marriage: What the Gospel Has to Say to a Culture of Cohabitation — a compilation of quotes from Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage
- Sex and Politics: Betrand Russell and Human Sexuality by Stanley Hauerwas — an important (if technical) article on why sex must exist for something beyond self-gratification
- Tolkien Speaks: The Secret to a Happy Marriage by Sam Guzman
- Divorcing Sex from Love Hasn’t Made Sex More Fun, More Safe, or Less Complicated by Gracy Olmstead — this article is insightful in what reveals about the hook-up culture, but it doesn’t go far enough to explain the protects and blessings of married sex.
Displays of Christ-like Husbands
A Few Books
- The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
- Married for God by Christopher Ash
- God, Marriage, and Family by Andreas Köstenberger
- God’s Design for Man and Woman by Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger
Soli Deo Gloria, ds