Ephesians 5:25-33

"Paul's exhortation to wives here would strike most ancient

readers as quite weak." (The IVP Bible Background Commentary)


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


"Love" is the word "agapao" - the kind of love that God has. It is an unselfish love. Based on the character of the person doing the loving. It is a love that strives for the well being of the other person. In other words, it is a love that is focused on the other persons needs, wants, interests and will submit its on will and advantage for the benefit of the object of this love. Other words for love that Paul could have used were:

1. erao - sexual passion of man and woman

2. phileo - friendship love

3. storgeo - natural affection within the family


What Christ Did
for Church

to Husbands

Application to Husbands
Towards Wife

Loved the church


Agapeo - selfless love

Gave himself up



Made her holy


Set her apart

Cleansing her by washing
  with water through the word


Sacrifice for her,

Doing for her what
she can not do for herself

Present her to himself


Initiate the relationship

A radiant church


Beautify her

Without stain, wrinkle, blemish


Help her improve


Love their wives as
own body

Love yourself

Love your wife the same

Christ feeds church

Feeds his body


Christ cares for church

Cares for his body



Love wife as he

Loves himself

Consider her as an
extension of self


"to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,"

The sacrifice of the cross, like any sacrifice, is done for the purpose of:

1. Sanctification (holy)

2. Justification (cleanse)


"to make her holy" is in the aorist tense which indicates a single act in the past and not a continuing experience (in this case, although there is a process also in life, but not in this verse). This is also seen in 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:21, Heb. 10:29.


"water" refers to:

1. Ritual of Baptism, but not alone for salvation since it is here accompanied with "word".


"word" could refer to:

1. Word of the Gospel as in Rom. 10:8; 1 Peter 1:25 and Ephesians 1:13

2. Word of the human pledge

3. Word of confession

4. Word of baptismal formula




"and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."


Brides would prepare themselves for their marriage which include bathing, primping, perfumed, anointed, dressing, adorning, etc. to look their best for their husbands.


The betrothal ceremony in Judaism came to be called "the sanctification of the bride" or the setting apart of the bride for her husband.


We, the church, can not do that for ourselves - "all our righteous works are as filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6) So, Christ has done that for us to prepare us for himself.

See Revelation 21:2


Ephesians 1:4, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be

            holy and blameless in his sight."


 2 Corinthians 11:2 - Paul's work was to help prepare and preserve the church

Colossians 1:28 - Paul is presenting the church to Christ.


"radiant" - endoxoV endoxos - glorious, splendor

"stain" - spiloV spilos - spot, speck, fleck, stain

"wrinkle" - 'rutiV rhutis - wrinkle, fold on the face. This is a term used to

            describe physical beauty, health and symmentry.

"blemish" - is not a word in the Greek, but it comes in the translation of the word

            toioutoV toioutos - which means "such a thing"



"In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."


The husbands love for his wife is modeled by Christ's love for the church.


Christ prepared the church and made her lovely for himself, now, at a lower level the husband is to beautify his wife. Not merely find her beautiful, but make her beautiful.


"Own bodies"  - Genesis 2:21 and 2:24 are in mind here and 2:24 is quoted in

            Ephesians 5:24


Self-love and self-respect are not forgotten here, but rather joined to and built on. No man should hate himself or not take care of himself. It is natural to love and care for yourself, in fact, here and in Matthew 22:39 (Leviticus 19:18) - "Love your neighbor as yourself."



"After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church - "


"Feeds" and "Cares" are both words that appear in papyrus marriage contracts that identify the husband's responsibilities for his wife



"for we are members of his body."




"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."



"This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church."




"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."