10/19 at The Gathering

Bruce Judisch taught on Sunday, October 19.  The video and listening guides from that lesson, followed by the scripture, are below.

Core Lesson (Bruce Judisch)

Filled with the Spirit

Ephesians 5:21-6:9

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… be filled by the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for each other in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 and submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

How does this passage establish the context for what follows? How should it affect our understanding of what submission is?

22 Wives, (submit to) your husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ (is) the head of the church—he himself (being) the savior of the body. 24 But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives (should submit) to their husbands in everything.

In the context of “submitting to each other,” what does Paul mean, given the metaphor of the church as the “bride of Christ”? Could “the savior of the body” be a harbinger of his exhortation in v. 25?

25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her

What does the husband’s willingness to give his life for his wife mean in the context of submission?

26 to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, 27 so that he may present the church to himself as glorious—not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 for we are members of his body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

How does this passage yank the teeth from the misapplication of a husband’s “dominance” in the marital relationship? How do “privilege” and “responsibility” conjoin in this passage?

32 This mystery is great—but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Verse 32 is the defining verse in this whole passage. Keeping the exhortation within its context is crucial. Given that, how do “love” and “respect” vary in nuance with respect to husband-and-wife and Christ-and-church?

Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment accompanied by a promise, namely, 3 that it may go well with you and that you will live a long time on the earth.”

Is this indeed the “first” commandment with a promise (cf. Exod. 20:4-6)? What if “first” (“prōtos”) is a reference to importance, or primacy, rather than chronology (cf. 1 Tim. 1:15)? If this distinction is accurate, how does that affect our understanding of this passage?

4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart as to Christ, 6 not like those who do their work only when someone is watching—as people-pleasers—but as slaves of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. 7 Obey with enthusiasm, as though serving the Lord and not people, 8 because you know that each person, whether slave or free, if he does something good, this will be rewarded by the Lord. 9 Masters, treat your slaves the same way, giving up the use of threats, because you know that both you and they have the same master in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

Is this a subtle acceptance of slavery, or an acknowledgment of the reality of the times? When is Scripture descriptive, and when is it prescriptive? Regarding v. 7, how does Col. 3:23 relate?


This lesson is especially difficult for 20th-/21st-century Americans. Why so? What is it about submission that goes against our grain? How do—or can—we, as Christians, deal with it? What are some practical ways we can exercise, or exhibit, this kind of submission?



Published by Blake

Christ follower. Husband/father. Church mediator. Author/speaker. Bible teacher. Practicing attorney.

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