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I am currently preaching a sermon series on Sunday mornings at Wildwood Community Church called “Packed” – based out of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.  During this series, I am using my blog to post study prompts, devotionals, sermon audio/video, and discussion questions to help facilitate personal or group study of this book.  NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I have a set of links to previous resources in this series.

Ephesians 5:22-33 – Study Prompts #3

  1. Take a moment to pray.  Praise God for His Word and ask Him to teach you its truth, just as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:12-16, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.  I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.  I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”
  2. Read Ephesians 5:22-33
  3. In Ephesians 5:31 Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 to emphasize the oneness that exists between a husband and wife.  What do you think it means to say that a husband and a wife are “one flesh?”
  4. When a husband and a wife get married, they “leave” their parent’s homes (i.e. are no longer under their authority and should no longer be controlled by the influence of their parents) and “hold fast” or “cleave” to each other.  The Greek word that lies behind “hold fast” is a word that means to cement something together . . . to make a permanent bond.  “Oneness” implies unity, but it also implies permanence.  In a world that often understands marriage as a simple contract of convenience that can be dissolved with the stroke of a judge’s pen, God’s intention for marriage is that it would last because a husband and wife have been cemented together as one flesh.  Understanding the “holding fast” nature of Christian marriage, how would you advise someone who was considering marriage (in light of this passage)?  In light of this passage, how would you advise someone who is currently married but struggling and considering divorce?  How would you advise someone who is recently divorced?
  5. The picture for the permanence of the marriage relationship is the relationship between Jesus and the Church (you and me.)  Jesus does not give up on us because we are “quirky” or “difficult’ or have hurt Him.  Jesus maintains His commitment to us even through our failures.  This becomes the picture of the kind of commitment Christian husbands are to have for their wives.  As the early church Father John Chrysostom wrote, “Hast thou seen the [submission of the wife to the husband]?  Here also is the measure of love.  Wouldst thou that thy wife shouldst [submit] to thee as the church doth love Christ?  Then have care thyself for her as Christ does for the church, and if it be needful that thou shouldst give thy life for her, or be cut to pieces a thousand times, or endure anything whatsoever, refuse it not.  Christ brought His church to His feet by His great love, not by threats or any such thing, and so do thou conduct thyself toward thy wife.”  The key to a lasting, loving “oneness” in marriage is found in imitating the love of Christ as husbands to wives and wives to husbands.  How does Jesus commitment to us provide a great model for a lasting marriage covenant?
  6. In Ephesians 5:22-33, husbands and wives are seen as occupying complementary roles.  In Ephesians 5:33, they are given nuanced summary commands:  husbands to “love” their wives, and wives to “respect” their husbands.  Why do you think different commands are given here?  Given what you have learned through this passage this week, what do you think Paul was emphasizing in these separate but parallel commands?
  7. STUDY NOTE:  In Ephesians 5:32, Paul says “This mystery is profound.”  The mystery he is referring to is that the husband/wife relationship is patterned after the Jesus/church relationship.  This is a mystery because this picture is something we would not know if God did not tell us.  From the time of Genesis 2:24 until Ephesians 5:32 (a period of at least thousands of years), humanity did not understand the picture that God had embedded in His plan for marriage.  The husband/wife relationship between Christian spouses is designed to illustrate to the world the nature of the relationship between Jesus and the church.  This intended pattern is why Christians should be vigilant to fight for truly distinct Christian marriages that embody love, support, dependence, care, and commitment.  While it is not inappropriate for Christians to fight for the definition of marriage OUTSIDE the church, it is absolutely critical for Christians to teach and maintain Ephesians 5 type marriages INSIDE the church. This is why churches often get involved in admonishing parishioners who are abandoning their spouse to repent of that sin, not only because of the desire for personal holiness, but also because of the reputation of Christ and the church’s charge to represent an accurate picture of His character to a dark and dying world.
  8. Scan back through Ephesians 5:25-31.  What do you see in these verses about what Jesus does for the Christian?  How does He love us, support us, and care for us according to these verses? 
  9. Scan back over Ephesians 5:22-24.  Knowing what you know about Jesus and what He has done for you, how are you motivated to submit your life to Him?  Is there an area of your life that you have been withholding from God in rebellion (or ignorance) that you need to lay before Him as you submit to Him in “all things”?

 

For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:

 

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15 thoughts on “Ephesians 5:22-33 (Study Prompt #3)

  1. Pingback: wildwoodmark.com

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