The Apostle Paul gave a very dear exhortation to Timothy about the qualifications of elders and deacons (church leaders). These qualifications are all directly related to how the leader lives in his home.
Open your Bible and read 1 Timothy 3:1-13, especially verse 5. A person who has learned to behave righteously and keep good relationships with those in his home will also know how to be a wise and godly leader in the church. A person must first function as an elder (or deacon) at home; then he will have learned how to also rule well in the church. It is dear, then, that the principles of Scripture that should be applied to behavior in the church should also guide our behavior and relationships in the home.
Let us now examine the portion of Scripture that most clearly addresses the biblical role of a Christian husband: Ephesians 5:22-33.
THE GREATEST COMMAND:
TO LOVE OUR WIVES
Ephesians 5:22-33 gives husbands and wives commands that are essential to having a God-honoring and healthy, nurturing marriage relationship. This article will look specifically at the commands given to men in order that they might fulfill their God-given role as husbands.
Ephesians 5:25 states the most crucial and foundational part of a man’s responsibility to his wife: He is to love her. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved … Church and gave Himself for Her” (Eph 5:25). This verse clearly shows the most important responsibility of the Christian husband to his wife is to love her.
Just as love is the “greatest” of the Christian virtues (1 Cor 13:13), so is love the greatest key to a healthy, fruitful and lasting marriage. The husband is told three times in Ephesians 5 (vs 25, 28, 33) that he is to love his wife. This triple-repeated emphasis in one section of Scripture makes it very clear that a husband is to love his wife!
It is when the wife knows that she is truly loved that she will more freely respond in godly submission to her husband’s headship (Eph 5:22-24). However, a husband’s love for his wife should not be based upon her response. He should love her in obedience to God’s commands, and leave her response up to God.
But how does a man love his wife? How is the biblical kind of love in Ephesians 5:25 shown from a man to his wife?
A CHOICE – NOT A FEELING
Many people mistakenly believe that love is just a special kind of feeling you have for someone you like. Love does involve our feelings. However, true love goes far beyond just what a man feels for his wife. Real love involves a choice of the will, and results in actions that demonstrate that love.
Scripture tells us that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph 5:25). How then did Christ love the Church? How did He demonstrate His love? Verse 25 says that Christ “gave Himself for her [the Church]”. Christ loved the Church by the example of His selfless death. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8; see also John 15:13).