When A Man Loves A Woman

Bible Book: Ephesians  5 : 25
Subject: Love; Husbands; Marriage

On February 17, 1966 in Sheffield, Alabama, Percy Sledge recorded a song that he had written called “When A Man Loves A Woman” (according to Wikipedia). And that’s the title that I want to use for the message this morning:

“When A Man Loves A Woman.”

I was reminded of the first man who loved the first woman when I received an email this week that listed the…

Top Ten Pickup Lines Used By Adam

10. “You know you’re the only one for me!”

9. “Do you come here often?”

8. “Trust me, this was meant to be!”

7. “Look around, baby. All the other guys around here are animals!”

6. “I already feel like you’re a part of me!”

5. “Honey, you were made for me!”

4. “Why don’t you come over to my place and we can name some animals?”

3. “You’re the girl of my dreams!” (Genesis 2:21)

Cf. (Genesis 2:21) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

2. “I like a girl who doesn’t mind being ribbed!”

And the number one pick up line from Adam is:

1. “You’re the apple of my eye!”

(From Mikey’s Funnies email for 2/10/2011)

The Bible offers some very important instruction about “When A Man Loves A Woman.”

The Bible tells us very plainly in at least three separate verses, in Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 5:33, and Colossians 3:19 that the husband is to love his wife. And in each of these verses, the word “love” is translated from the strong Greek word agape.

John MacArthur said…

Agapē (love) is one of the rarest words in ancient Greek literature, but one of the most common in the New Testament. Unlike our English love, it never refers to romantic or sexual love, for which erōs was used, and which does not appear in the New Testament. Nor does it refer to mere sentiment, a pleasant feeling about something or someone. It does not mean close friendship or brotherly love, for which philia is used.

(From MacArthur’s comments on 1 Corinthians 13)

Agape love is selfless and self-giving love. It is not impulsive or superficial, but deep and constant. As James Packer said, “It is a matter of will rather than feeling.”

Kenneth Wuest said of the use of agape in Ephesians 5:25 that…

‎This is a self-sacrificial love, a love that impels the one loving to give himself in self-sacrifice for the well-being of the one who is loved. The husband has three other kinds of love for his wife, a love of passion (‎eros‎), a love of complacency and satisfaction (‎stergo‎), and a fondness or affection (‎phileo‎). (But) All these are saturated with the ‎agapao ‎love of the Spirit filled husband, purified and made heavenly in character.

The greatest manifestation of love is the love of God and the love of Christ. And, remarkably, Paul uses the love of Christ for the church as a standard to measure up to for husbands in loving their wives, for he said…

(Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Because Paul uses this comparison, I believe it is safe to conclude that the husband who will best understand how to love his wife is one who has, himself, experienced the love of Christ in his life.

Whenever I preach on spousal love and marriage, I feel like I need to offer a disclaimer and (using the words of Paul) say that, ‘While I am preaching on marriage and how a husband is to love his wife, it is “not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.” Nor do I “count … myself to have apprehended” (Philippians 3:12-13), but I do want to grow in this area. And I do want to strive to measure up to the great standard of love that Christ has set in loving His bride.

As John MacArthur said…

Obviously no sinful human being has the capacity to love with the divine fullness and perfection with which Christ … loved, and will forever love, the church. However, because a Christian has Christ’s own nature and Holy Spirit within him, God thereby provides for husbands to love their wives with a measure of Christ’s own kind of love. The husband who submits to the Lord by being filled with His Spirit (v. 18) is able to love his wife with the same kind of love Jesus has for His own bride, the church. The Lord’s pattern of love for His church is the husband’s pattern of love for his wife.

So according to God’s Word, “when a man loves a woman,” and specifically when a husband loves his wife, what does this involve? What exactly are we talking about?

I. The Love Of A Husband For His Wife Is A Sacrificial Love

(Ephesians 5:25)

A. This Kind Of Sacrificial Love Is Unconditionally Gracious

(Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

John MacArthur reminds us that…

Jesus’ sacrifice was purely of grace. Jesus loves and saves because it is His character to be gracious. “For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (5:7-8). Jesus’ love for His church not only was sacrificial but graciously sacrificial. No person deserves to be saved, to be forgiven, cleansed, and placed within God’s kingdom as His own child. He sacrificed not for the lovely or worthy but for the unlovely and unworthy.

The world’s love is always object-oriented. A person is loved because of physical attractiveness, personality, wit, prestige, or some other such positive characteristic. In other words, the world loves those whom it deems worthy of love. Such love is necessarily fickle. As soon as a person loses a positive characteristic — or that characteristic is no longer appealing — the love based on the characteristic also disappears. It is because so many husbands and wives have only that kind of fickle love for each that their marriages fall apart. As soon as a partner loses his or her appeal, love is gone, because the basis for the love is gone.

… A husband is not commanded to love his wife because of what she is or is not. He is commanded to love her because it is God’s will for him to love her. It is certainly intended for a husband to admire and be attracted by his wife’s beauty, winsomeness, kindness, gentleness, or any other positive quality or virtue. But though such things bring great blessing and enjoyment, they are not the bond of marriage. If every appealing characteristic and every virtue of his wife disappears, a husband is still under just as great an obligation to love her. If anything, he is under greater obligation, because her need for the healing and restorative power of his selfless love is greater. That is the kind of love Christ has for His church and is therefore the kind of love every Christian husband is to have for his wife.

If we would love our wives as Christ loves the church, then we love them unconditionally, with no consideration of whether we deem them to be worthy of our love.

B. This Kind Of Sacrificial Love Is Unselfishly Giving

(Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Jesus gave the greatest gift of love, the gift of Himself. And as He said…

(John 15:13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

David Jeremiah said…

Jesus Christ gave to the world the way to recognize true love in its ultimate manifestation – the greatest form of love possible. That kind of love is manifested by one person being willing to lay down his or her life for a friend. Ultimately, “lay down” means “to die for.” But it could mean a less drastic sacrificial act of love as well. True love is when one person gives of himself for a friend.

(From the Turning Point email devotional for February 12, 2011)

Paul was speaking of the churches of Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8, and he said that they urged him to receive their financial gift. And Paul said…

(2 Corinthians 8:5) And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Albert Barnes wrote…

[And gave himself for 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. … 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.

II. The Love Of A Husband For His Wife Is A Sanctifying Love

(Ephesians 5:26–27)

There are households in which untold amounts of money are spent so that the wife can maintain a certain hairstyle and wardrobe. Perhaps cosmetics or even cosmetic surgery has been a priority so that the appearance of youth or beauty can be preserved. But how concerned are we with the inner, spiritual beauty of our wives? Peter said of the wives in 1 Peter 3…

(1 Peter 3:3-4) Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; {4} But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

A. The Husband Wants His Wife To Be In The Scriptural Word More Than In The Sinful World

(Ephesians 5:26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

John MacArthur said…

In ancient Greece, a bride-to-be would be taken down to a river to be bathed and ceremonially cleansed from every defilement of her past life. Whatever her life had been before, it was now symbolically purified and she would enter the marriage without any moral or social blemish—the past was washed away.

… Love wants only the best for the one it loves, and it cannot bear for a loved one to be corrupted or misled by anything evil or harmful. When a husband's love for his wife is like Christ's love for His church, he will continually seek to help purify her from any sort of defilement. He will seek to protect her from the world's contamination and protect her holiness, virtue, and purity in every way. He will never induce her to do that which is wrong or unwise or expose her to that which is less than good.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

The immediate object of Christ was to cleanse her (the church), and for this end he used the Word as a purifying agent, washing her by means of it. The difference between selfish and unselfish love is seen here: a selfish lover cares for his wife in his own interest - like Samson, desires to have her simply because she pleases him, and, in his converse with her, thinks, not of her good, but of his own enjoyment; but the love of an unselfish lover constrains him to seek her good, to do nothing that will hurt her and damage her in any manner of way, but to do everything that he believes will advance her well-being, especially in the highest sense.

Am I leading my wife closer to God and His Word or further away from God and His Word?

B. The Husband Wants His Wife To Be Spiritually Wholesome More Than He Wants Her To Be Superficially Winsome

wholesome – means healthy, decent, or good

winsome – means charming or attractive or engaging

Warren Wiersbe said…

The word sanctify means “to set apart.” In the marriage ceremony, the husband is set apart to belong to the wife, and the wife is set apart to belong to the husband. Any interference with this God-given arrangement is sin. Today, Christ is cleansing His church through the ministry of His Word (John 15:3; 17:17). The love of the husband for His wife ought to be cleansing her (and him) so that both are becoming more like Christ. Even their physical relationship should be so controlled by God that it becomes a means of spiritual enrichment as well as personal enjoyment (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

(Ephesians 5:27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

spot – Greek 4696. spilos, spee'-los; of uncert. der.; a stain or blemish, i.e. (fig.) defect, disgrace:--spot.

W. E. Vine in his Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words said that the word “wrinkle” (rhutis – Greek NT:4512), is from an obsolete verb rhuo, signifying “to draw together,” occurs in Ephesians 5:27, describing the flawlessness of the complete church.

Kenneth Wuest explained that…

‎The words, “not having spot or wrinkle,” are an explanation on the negative side of what is meant in the word “glorious.” The bride is to be without moral blemish. “Holy” is ‎hagia‎, “separate from evil”; “without blemish,” ‎amœmos‎, “faultless, unblamable,” namely, free from faultiness.

While a desire to make oneself presentable is good, the Bible tells us that the greater priority is the presentation of the heart. The Bible says…

(Proverbs 31:30) Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

III. The Love Of A Husband For His Wife Is A Sustaining Love

(Ephesians 5:28–29)

A. Notice The Personal Consideration Of This Sustaining Love

(Ephesians 5:28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

(Ephesians 5:33) Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Kenneth Wuest’s Word Studies From the Greek New Testament says…

The idea, therefore, is that even as Christ loved the Church, so too ought husbands to love their wives, — as their own bodies. This is not to be reduced to ‘like themselves’: nor does ‎hos ‎(as) here mean simply ‘like,’ as if all that is meant is that the husband’s love for his wife is to be similar to his love for his own body. The ‎hos ‎ (as) has its qualitative force, ‘as it were,’ ‘as being.’ Christ and husband are each head, as Paul has already put it, and as the Church is the body in relation to the former, so is the wife in relation to the latter. The husband, the head, therefore, is to love the wife as being his body, even as Christ loved the Church as forming His body. The idea of husband and wife as being one flesh is probably also in view. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself. The relation of head and body means that the wife is part of the husband’s self. To love his wife, therefore, in this character as being his body, is to love himself.

My wife is my other self. As Paul said in verse 31, the man “shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” So in looking out for her, I am looking out for myself. You that are widowed, when your spouse died, did you feel like part of yourself died? Paul said…

(Ephesians 5:30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

John Gill said, “The union between them is so close, as if they were but one person, one soul, one body.”

B. Notice The Particular Components Of This Sustaining Love

(Ephesians 5:29) For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

MacArthur said…

The husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church will no more do anything to harm her than he would to harm his own flesh. His desire is to nourish and cherish her just as he nourishes and cherishes his own body—because that is how Christ also does the church.

When she needs strength, he gives her strength. When she needs encouragement, he gives her that. And so with every other thing she needs. Just as God supplies “all [our] needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), the loving husband seeks to supply all the needs of his wife. The blessed marriage is the marriage in which the husband loves his wife with unlimited caring.

… To nourish a wife is to provide for her needs, to give that which helps her grow and mature in favor with God and man. To cherish her is to use tender love and physical affection to give her warmth, comfort, protection, and security. Those responsibilities are primarily the husband’s, not the wife’s. As Christ provides for His church, so the husband provides for his wife

The context of 1 Timothy 5 is speaking specifically of widows, but the lesson is equally true for the husband providing for his wife when the Bible says, “… if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).

IV. The Love Of A Husband For His Wife Is A Solid Love

(Ephesians 5:31)

Here is a statement and truth that is first presented in Genesis 2:24 where the Bible says…

(Genesis 2:24) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

In answering the Pharisees’ question about divorce in Matthew 19, Jesus quoted this verse saying…

(Matthew 19:5-6) … For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? {6} Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

John MacArthur said…

For a husband to love his wife as Christ loves His church he must love her with an unbreakable love. In this direct quotation from Genesis 2:24 Paul emphasized the permanence as well as the unity of marriage. God’s standard for marriage did not change from the time of Adam until the time of Paul, and it has not changed to this day.

A. Notice That There Is A Movement Of Migration In The Leaving

(Ephesians 5:31) For this cause (because husband and wife shall be one flesh) shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Wuest said…

“Leave” is ‎kataleipo‎, “to leave behind, depart from.”

W. E. Vine says of the word “leave” as it is used in Genesis 2:24…

leave – Hebrew OT:5800. azab; “to leave, forsake, abandon, leave behind, be left over, let go.” Basically it means “to depart from something,” or “to leave.” This is the meaning of the word in its first biblical appearance: “[For this cause] shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife” (Genesis 2:24). A special nuance of the word is “to leave in the lurch,” or to leave someone who is depending upon one’s services.

This does not preclude the fact that we are to honor our father and mother, but it indicates that the husband’s life with the wife is to take priority over the previous relationship. Jesus loved His bride with a love that caused Him to leave the Father’s house.

B. Notice That There Is A Marriage And Merging In The Cleaving

(Ephesians 5:31) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

joined – Greek 4347. proskollao, pros-kol-lah'-o; from G4314 and G2853; to glue to, i.e. (fig.) to adhere:--cleave, join (self).

Adam Clarke wrote…

[Shall be joined unto his wife] ‎Proskolleetheesetai‎. He shall be glued or cemented to her; and, as a well-glued board will sooner break in the whole wood than in the glued joint, so death alone can part the husband and wife; and nothing but death should dissolve their affection.

MacArthur said…

Proskollaō (cleave) literally means to be glued or cemented together. Husbands and wives are to leave their parents and to cleave to, be cemented to, each other. They break one set of ties as they establish the other, and the second is more binding and permanent than the first.

“’I hate divorce,’ (‘putting away’) says the Lord, the God of Israel” (Malachi 2:16). God has always hated divorce and He will continue to hate it, because it destroys that which He has ordained to be unbreakable. He hates divorce on any terms and for any reason. He will tolerate it in certain instances, and will forgive it, as He will forgive any other sin; but He will never change His hatred for it, just as He will never change His hatred for any other sin.

Husbands and wives are not to be quick to divorce each other because of wrongs their spouses have done, not even for unfaithfulness. Just as Christ does not separate Himself from believers who sin against Him, husbands and wives are not to separate themselves from their partners who sin against them. As Christ is always forgiving of believers, husbands and wives should always be forgiving of each other.

… Just as the body of Christ is indivisible, God’s ideal design for marriage is that it be indivisible. As Christ is one with His church, husbands are one with their wives.

The wise Solomon recognized the blessing of being joined to another when he said…(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. {10} For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

(Ecclesiastes 4:12) And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.


Dr. Tom Elliff is a great missionary, pastor, author, and conference preacher. And he has written a book on “10 Questions Every Husband Should Ask His Wife Every Year.” These questions are relevant, I think, to the principles that Paul has set forth in Ephesians 5. Here are Tom’s questions…

1. What could I do to make you feel more loved and cherished?

The emphasis is on feeling and not knowing. Think about verbal affirmation of your love. She knows you love her, but does she feel that you love her?

2. How can I best demonstrate my appreciation for you, your ideas, and your role as my wife?

We may speak to others about our wives being the “better half,” but do they feel that their ideas, concerns and input is really up to half in the relationship? Do you brag about her to others? What do her friends tell her about what they heard you say about her?

3. What could I do to assure you that I hear and understand your heart?

Maybe her answer might be, “Asking me these questions is a good start!” A lot of couples have very little understanding of the other. Often times we build walls around us to protect ourselves from pain or shame. We don’t want our wives to know the truth because deep down we believe they will respect or love us less if they only knew the truth.

4. What could I do to make you feel absolutely secure?

How do you protect your wife? Physically is one way, providing a safe place to live without fear, but how about emotionally, spiritually, or even morally? Tom told us a story about a husband who was watching TV and the wife watched him watch TV. The point was, watching a television program is one thing, watching TV (flipping channels looking for stuff) is something else. Can our wives see our moral integrity and the marriage relationship going down for the count?

5. What can I do to ensure that you have confidence and joy in our future direction?

The key word in this question is “our.” Does your wife feel that you are both together looking forward to and building the future, or is she just following you? Each cannot be just “doing their own thing” and living under the same roof.

6. What attribute or practice would you like me to develop or improve?

Is there something in my life you would prefer I eliminated? Face it, life means always seeing the opportunity for improvement.

7. What attribute would you like me to help you develop in yourself?

How can I help you in the best possible way? Not all problems can be solved with words. She can now help you to get the picture! How can you be a true partner with your wife?

8. What achievement in my life would bring you greatest joy to your heart?

The Bible is filled with examples of people whose lives were not over until it was over; like Caleb and Joshua, the spies and the Promised Land. The goal kept these two going through 40 years of wandering. A husband needs clear and positive objectives for the second half of life. Nothing encourages a man more than the privilege of accomplishment.

9. What would indicate to you that I really desire to be more like Christ?

Perhaps a deeper prayer life, full commitment to learning the Word of God, sensitivity to sinful activity, elimination of bad habits, friends, practices, a life marked by the Holy Spirit (bearing fruit – Galatians 5:22-23), that Christ is running the show rather than you.

10. What mutual goal would you like to see us accomplish?

Marriage is not about me, it’s about us. How can we make the most of our time spent on this earth?

Tom and his wife set aside a time each year when they get away and ask these questions. Can you commit to ask these questions of your wife?


V. The Love Of A Husband For His Wife Is A Sexual Love

(1 Corinthians 7:1–9; Hebrews 13:4)

A. Physical Intimacy Is Expected In The Context Of Marriage

(1 Corinthians 7:1-5) Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. {2} Nevertheless, to avoid fornication (adultery), let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. {3} Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence (conjugal duty): and likewise also the wife unto the husband. {4} The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. {5} Defraud (deprive) ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency (lack of self-control).

MacArthur said…

To touch a woman was a common Jewish euphemism for sexual intercourse. The phrase is used in that sense in passages such as Genesis 20:6; Ruth 2:9; and Proverbs 6:29. Paul uses it to state that it is a good thing for Christians not to have sexual intercourse, that is, to be single, unmarried. He does not say, however, that singleness is the only good condition or that marriage is in any way wrong or inferior to singleness. He says only that singleness, as long as it is celibate, can be good.

God Himself declared at creation that “it is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). All people need companionship and God ordained marriage to be, among other things, the most fulfilling and common means of companionship.

Warren Wiersbe wrote…

First Corinthians 7:6 makes it clear that celibacy is permitted, but it is not commanded; and 1 Corinthians 7:7 informs us that not everybody has the gift of remaining celibate. This ties in with our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 19:10-12, where “eunuchs” refers to those who abstain from marriage. “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18) is generally true for most people; but some have been called to a life of singleness for one reason or another. Their singleness is not “subspiritual” or “superspiritual.” It all depends on the will of God.

One purpose for marriage is “to avoid fornication.” First Corinthians 7:2 makes it clear that God does not approve either of polygamy or homosexual “marriages.” One man married to one woman has been God’s pattern from the first. However, the husband and wife must not abuse the privilege of sexual love that is a normal part of marriage. The wife’s body belongs to the husband, and the husband’s body to the wife; and each must be considerate of the other. Sexual love is a beautiful tool to build with, not a weapon to fight with. To refuse each other is to commit robbery (defraud) and to invite Satan to tempt the partners to seek their satisfaction elsewhere.

B. Physical Intimacy Is Exclusive To The Context Of Marriage

(Hebrews 13:4) Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

undefiled – Greek 283. amiantos, am-ee'-an-tos; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a der. of G3392; unsoiled, i.e. (fig.) pure:--undefiled.

(What happens in the marriage bed between husband and wife is not prohibited or sinful.)

The United Bible Societies New Testament Handbook Series says…

In place of the passive expression be honored, it may be better to use an active statement: “All persons should honor marriage” or “All persons should consider marriage to be something good.”

The two statements, marriage is to be honored by all and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other (“the bed undefiled”), mean essentially the same, so the first and may be omitted in languages where it leads the reader to expect new information. In some languages it may be replaced by a word meaning “indeed.”

Modern translations often replace the reference to “the marriage bed” (RSV) by a nonfigurative expression; for example, DuCL “faithfulness in marriage must remain inviolate.” RSV’s “undefiled” here renders a word used in the same sense of Jesus in Hebrews 7:26. In place of the positive statement husbands and wives must be faithful to each other; it may be more natural to express this negatively as “a husband and a wife must not go about looking for someone else to sleep with” (“the bed undefiled”).

The statement God will judge implies a negative judgment, and therefore must be rendered in some languages as “God will condemn.”

Those who are immoral means those who, whether married or not, are sexually immoral. Those who commit adultery refers only to those who are married.

VI. The Love Of A Husband For His Wife Is A Sensitive Love

(Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7)

A. His Vindictiveness (Unkindness) Is Eliminated

(Colossians 3:19) Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word translated “bitter” (NT:4087 – pikrainesthe) means…

To embitter, exasperate, i. e. render angry, indignant; passive, to be embittered, irritated.

MacArthur said…

Husbands also must not be embittered against their wives. The imperative pikrainesthe (embittered) could be translated, “stop being bitter,” or “do not have the habit of being bitter” (A. T. Robertson). In its only other uses in the New Testament (Revelation 8:11; 10:9, 10) it refers to something bitter in taste. Paul tells husbands not to call their wives “honey,” and then act like vinegar. They must not display harshness of temper or resentment toward their wives. They are not to irritate or exasperate them, but rather to provide loving leadership in the home.

B. Her Value Is Established

(1 Peter 3:7) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

“Dwell with” (is an) an old verb for domestic association. “According to knowledge” (means) “with an intelligent recognition of the nature of the marriage relation.” (From Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT)

honour – Greek 5092. time, tee-may'; from G5099; a value, i.e. money paid, or (concr. and collect.) valuables; by anal. esteem (espec. of the highest degree), or the dignity itself:--honour, precious, price, some.

“Vessel” has the idea of an implement or a utensil or a furnishing. And the word “weaker” suggests that which is more delicate.

MacArthur said…

First, husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way, which means they must be considerate. Understanding speaks of being sensitive and considering the wife’s deepest physical and emotional needs. The word translated live (sunoikountes) means “dwelling together” and refers to living with someone in intimacy and cherishing them.

There is to be dwelling and discernment and degree because she is delicate and delivered (special and saved), and it brings a danger to our supplication and prayer life when the domestic situation is not right.

VII. The Love Of A Husband For His Wife Is A Suggestive Love

(Ephesians 5:25,32)

A. This Comparison Makes The Human Relationship More Meaningful

(Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Like Hosea, the Christian marriage gives a living example of God’s relationship with us. Warren Wiersbe said…

Our Christian homes are to be pictures of Christ’s relationship to His church. Each believer is a member of Christ’s body, and each believer is to help nourish the body in love (Ephesians 4:16). We are one with Christ. The church is His body and His bride, and the Christian home is a divinely ordained illustration of this relationship. This certainly makes marriage a serious matter.

B. This Comparison Makes The Heavenly Relationship More Mysterious

(Ephesians 5:32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

As the Pulpit Commentary says…

This mystery is a great one; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church. The matter referred to is the typical relation between the marriage of man and wife, and the union of Christ and the Church. It is called a mystery, and it is not said, as is said of another mystery, referred to before (Ephesians 3:5), that it has been completely explained. Some light has been thrown upon it, but that is all. It is implied that there is something of mystery in many of the relations between things natural and things spiritual, but that in the depth and grandeur of the sub-jeer, the mystery connected with the marriage relation is pre-eminent - it is “a great mystery” The analogy of the wind to the Holy Spirit; the springing up of plants to the resurrection; the melancholy sounds of nature to the prevalence of sin; and many other analogies, present vague shadows of truth, the clear, full forms of which we cannot see. When the day breaks and “the shadows flee away,” such things will appear in a clearer light.


A third-grade teacher asked her students to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. The pictures came in, and there were pictures of nurses, of astronauts, of firemen. But one little girl handed in a blank piece of paper. The teacher said, “Don’t you know what you want to be?” And the little girl said, “Sure I know. I want to be married. But I don’t know how to draw it!”

Well that little girl is not the only one that doesn’t know what being married is supposed to look like. But God knows what a marriage is supposed to look like. And He knows what it involves “when a man loves a woman,” and specifically when a husband loves his wife. He has given us some very specific instructions in His Word regarding this kind of love.


(Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives…