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Ephesians 5:25

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Husbands, love your wives - Here is a grand rule, according to which every husband is called to act: Love your wife as Christ loved the Church. But how did Christ love the Church? He gave himself for it - he laid down his life for it. So then husbands should, if necessary, lay down their lives for their wives: and there is more implied in the words than mere protection and support; for, as Christ gave himself for the Church to save it, so husbands should, by all means in their power, labor to promote the salvation of their wives, and their constant edification in righteousness. Thus we find that the authority of the man over the woman is founded on his love to her, and this love must be such as to lead him to risk his life for her. As the care of the family devolves on the wife, and the children must owe the chief direction of their minds and formation of their manners to the mother, she has need of all the assistance and support which her husband can give her; and, if she performs her duty well, she deserves the utmost of his love and affection.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Husbands, love your wives - The duty of the wife is to obey; the right of the husband is to command. But the apostle would guard against the abuse of that right by enjoining the manifestation of such a spirit on the husband as would secure obedience on the part of the wife. He proceeds, therefore, to show, that the husband, in all his conversation with the wife, should manifest the same spirit which the Lord Jesus did toward the church; or, in other words, he holds up the conduct of the Redeemer toward the church, as the model for a husband to imitate. If a husband wished a rule that would be short, simple, clear, and efficacious, about the manner in which he should regard and treat his wife, he could not find a better one than that here suggested.

Even as Christ loved the church - This was the strongest love that has ever been evinced in this world. It follows, that a husband is in no danger of loving his wife too much, provided she be not loved more than God. We are to make the love which Christ had for the church the model.

And gave himself for it - Gave himself to die to redeem it. The meaning here is, that husbands are to imitate the Redeemer in this respect. As he gave himself to suffer on the cross to save the church, so we are to be willing to deny ourselves, and to bear toil and trial, that we may promote the happiness of the wife. It is the duty of the husband to toil for her support; to provide for her needs; to deny himself of rest and ease, if necessary, in order to attend on her in sickness to go before her in danger; to defend her if she is in peril; and to be ready to die to save her Why should he not be? If they are shipwrecked, and there is a single plank on which safety can be secured, should he not be willing to place her on that, and see her safe at all hazards to himself? But there may be more implied in this than that a man is to toil, and even to lay down his life for the welfare of his wife. Christ laid down his life to save the church; and a husband should feel that it should be one great object of his life to promote the salvation of his wife. He is bound so to live as not to interfere with her salvation, but so as to promote it in every way possible. He is to furnish her all the “facilities” that she may need, to enable her to attend on the worship of God; and to throw no obstacles in her way. He is to set her the example; to counsel her if she needs counsel, and to make the path of salvation as easy for her as possible. If a husband has the spirit and self-denial of the Saviour, he will regard no sacrifice too great if he may promote the salvation of his family.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 527

There are many in our world who are starving for the love and sympathy which should be given them. Many men love their wives, but are too selfish to manifest it. They have a false dignity and pride, and will not show their love by words and deeds. There are many men who never know how starved is the heart of the wife for words of tender appreciation and affection. They bury their loved ones from their sight and murmur at the providence of God that has deprived them of their companions, when, could they look into the inner life of those companions, they would see that their own course was the cause of their premature death. The religion of Christ will lead us to be kind and courteous and not so tenacious of our opinions. We should die to self and esteem others better than ourselves. 3T 527.1

God's word is our standard, but how far have His professed people departed from it! Our religious faith must be not only theoretical, but practical. Pure and undefiled religion will not allow us to trample upon the rights of the least of God's creatures, much less of the members of His body and the members of our own family. God is love, and whoso dwelleth in Him dwelleth in love. The influence of worldly selfishness, which is carried about by some like a cloud, chilling the very atmosphere that others breathe, causes sickness of soul and frequently chills to death. 3T 528.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 453

Life in this stormy world, where moral darkness triumphs over truth and virtue, will be to the Christian a continual conflict. He will find that he must keep the armor on, for he will have to fight against forces that never tire and foes that never sleep. We shall find ourselves beset with countless temptations, and we must find strength in Christ to overcome them or be overcome by them and lose our souls. We have a great and solemn work to do, and how terrible will be our loss if we fail. If the work which our Master has left us be found undone, we cannot have a second probation granted us. It must remain undone forever. 3T 453.1

I was shown the life of Brother B in his family. Angels wept as they viewed his course at home, as they viewed the unloved wife, who receives no respect from him whose duty it is to love and cherish her as his own body, even as Christ has loved and cherished the church. He takes pains to make her defects apparent and to exalt his own wisdom and judgment and to make her feel her inferiority in company and alone. Notwithstanding she is illiterate, her spirit is far more acceptable to God than the spirit of her husband. God looks upon Sister B with feelings of the deepest pity. She lives out the principles of truth, as far as she has light, much better than her husband. She will not be answerable for the light and knowledge that her husband has had but which she has not had. He could be a light and comfort and blessing to her, but his influence is used in a wrong way. He reads to her what he pleases, that which will give strength to his views and his ideas, while he keeps back essential light which he does not want her to hear. 3T 453.2

He does not respect his wife, and he allows his children to show her disrespect. Like Eli's sons, these children are left to come up. They are not restrained, and all this neglect will by and by rebound upon himself. That which Brother B is now sowing he will most assuredly reap. Sister B, in many respects, is nearer the kingdom of heaven than her husband. These unruly, disobedient children, that are not educated to self-control, will plant thorns in the hearts of their parents that they cannot prevent; and then in the judgment God will call the parents to account for bringing children into the world and letting them come up untrained, unloving, and unloved. These children cannot be saved in the kingdom of heaven without a great change in their characters. 3T 453.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 425

The husband violates the marriage vow, and the duties enjoined upon him in the word of God, when he disregards the health and happiness of the wife, by increasing her burdens and cares by numerous offspring. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29). 2SM 425.1

We see this holy injunction almost wholly disregarded, even by professed Christians. Everywhere you may look, you will see pale, sickly, careworn, broken-down, dispirited, discouraged women. They are generally over-worked, and their vital energies exhausted by frequent child-bearing. The world is filled with images of human beings who are of no worth to society. Many are deficient in intellect, and many who possess natural talents do not use them for any beneficial purposes. They are not cultivated, and the one great reason is, children have been multiplied faster than they could be well trained, and have been left to come up much like the brutes. 2SM 425.2

Children in this age are suffering with their parents, more or less, the penalty of the violation of the laws of health. The course generally pursued with them, from their infancy, is in continual opposition to the laws of their being. They were compelled to receive a miserable inheritance of disease and debility, before their birth, occasioned by the wrong habits of their parents, which will affect them in a greater or less degree through life. This bad state of things is made every way worse by parents’ continuing to follow a wrong course in the physical training of their children during their childhood. 2SM 425.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 20

It was in this period that the articles comprising Testimonies for the Church, 5:9-98, were published, first in a pamphlet entitled Testimony for the Battle Creek Church. This pamphlet included not only that which was later republished in volume 5, but also more personal references dealing with individuals and situations in Battle Creek. One needs but to read the titles to sense the atmosphere of the times. The second chapter, “Our College,” carries subheadings, “The Bible as a Textbook,” “Object of the College,” and “Teachers in the College.” Following chapters are entitled: “Parental Training,” “Important Testimony,” “The Testimonies Slighted,” “Workers in our College,” “Jealousy and Faultfinding Condemned.” TM xx.1

These were difficult days, and as Ellen White went the following year into the 1883 General Conference session at Battle Creek, she was divinely led to give a series of morning addresses to Seventh-day Adventist ministers, presenting practical lines of counsel. Significantly, among these was one devoted to “Christ our Righteousness.” (See Selected Messages 1:350-354.) These historic circumstances form part of the background for the E. G. White counsels found in this volume. TM xx.2

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