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.
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(33) Nevertheless.—Although, i.e., the primary and perfect application is to Christ alone, let the teaching be so far applied to marriage as that practically “the husband love his wife as himself,” and “the wife reverence (properly, fear) the husband.” This return to homely, practical duty after high and mysterious teaching is characteristic of St. Paul. (See, for example, 1Corinthians 15:58.)

Ephesians 5:33. Nevertheless — As if he said, But though there be such a mystical sense in the marriage of Adam and Eve, or in the union subsisting between a man and his wife; though it be a striking emblem of the union between Christ and his church, yet the plain, literal sense especially now concerns you. Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself — That is, with a sincere, peculiar, cordial, and prevailing affection, like that which he bears to himself: and let the wife see that she reverence her husband — That she entertain a high esteem for him, be desirous of pleasing him in all things lawful, reasonable, and proper, and fear to give him unnecessarily any just offence in any thing, persuaded that it is the will of God, and the law of the relation in which she stands to him, that she should thus conduct herself toward him.

5:22-33 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.Nevertheless - The apostle here resumes the subject which he had been discussing in Ephesians 5:21-29, and says that it was the duty of every man to love his wife as he did himself. This was the main topic, from which he had been diverted by the discussion respecting the love which the Redeemer had shown for his church.

And the wife see that she reverence her husband - The word "see" is supplied by our translators. The meaning is, that it was the special duty of the wife to show respect for her husband as the head of the family, and as set over her in the Lord; see on Ephesians 5:22, note 28, note. The word rendered "reverence," is that which usually denotes "fear" - φοβῆται phobētai. She is to fear; i. e., to honor, respect, obey the will of her husband. It is, of course, not implied that it is not also her duty to love her husband, but that there should be no usurping of authority; no disregard of the arrangement which God has made; and that order and peace should be secured in a family by regarding the husband as the source of law.

From what is here said of the duties of husband and wife we may remark:

(1) That the happiness of society depends on just views of the marriage relation. It is true the world over, that the views which prevail in regard to this relation, determine everything in reference to all other relations of life, and to all other sources of enjoyment.

(2) God designed that woman should occupy a subordinate, though an important place in the relations of social life. This arrangement is never disregarded without evils which cannot be corrected until the original intention is secured. No imaginary good that can come out of the violation of the original design; no benefits which females, individual or associated, can confer on mankind by disregarding this arrangement, can be a compensation for the evil that is done, nor can the evil be remedied unless woman occupies the place which God designed she should fill. There nothing else can supply her place; and when she is absent from that situation - no matter what good she may be doing elsewhere - there is a silent evil reigning, which can be removed only by her return. It is not hers to fight battles, or to command armies and navies, or to control kingdoms, or to make laws. Nor is it hers to go forward as a public leader even in enterprises of benevolence, or in associations designed to act on the public mind. Her empire is the domestic circle; her first influence is there; and in connection with that, in such scenes as she can engage in without trenching on the prerogative of man, or neglecting the duty which she owes to her own family.

(3) it is not best that there should be the open exercise of authority in a family. When "commands" begin in the relation of husband and wife, "happiness" flies; and the moment a husband is "disposed" to command his wife, or is "under a necessity" of doing it, that moment he may bid adieu to domestic peace and joy.

(4) a wife, therefore, should never give her husband "occasion" to command her to do anything, or forbid anything. His known wish, except in cases of conscience, should be law to her. The moment she can ascertain what his will is, that moment ought to settle her mind as to what is to be done.

(5) a husband should never "wish" or "expect" anything that it may not be perfectly proper for a wife to render. He, too, should consult "her" wishes; and when he understands what they are, he should regard what she prefers as the very thing which he would command. The known wish and preference of a wife, unless there be something wrong in it, should be allowed to influence his mind, and be that which he directs in the family.

(6) there is no danger that a husband will love a wife too much, provides his love be subordinate to the love of God. The command is, to love her as Christ loved the church. What love has ever been like that? How can a husband exceed it? What did not Christ endure to redeem the church? So should a husband be willing to deny himself to promote the happiness of his wife; to watch by her in sickness, and, if need be, to peril health and life to promote her welfare. Doing this, he will not go beyond what Christ did for the church. He should remember that she has a special claim of justice on him. For him she has left her father's home, forsaken the friends of her youth, endowed him with whatever property she may have, sunk her name in his, confided her honor, her character, and her happiness, to his virtue; and the least that he can do for her is to love her, and strive to make her happy. This was what she asked when she consented to become his; and a husband's love is what she still asks to sustain and cheer her in the trials of life. If she has not this, whither shall she go for comfort?

(7) we may see, then, the guilt of those husbands who withhold their affections from their wives, and forsake those to whom they had solemnly pledged themselves at the altar; those who neglect to provide for their needs, or to minister to them in sickness; and those who become the victims of intemperance, and leave their wives to tears. There is much, much guilt of this kind on earth. There are many, many broken vows. There are many, many hearts made to bleed. There is many a pure and virtuous woman who was once the object of tender affection, now, by no fault of hers, forsaken, abused, broken-hearted, by the brutal conduct of a husband,

(8) wives should manifest such a character as to be worthy of love. They owe this to their husbands. They demand the confidence and affection of man; and they should show that they are worthy of that confidence and affection. It is not possible to love that which is unlovely, nor to force affection where it is undeserved; and, as a wife expects that a husband will love her more than he does any other earthly being, it is but right that she should evince such a spirit as shall make that proper. A wife may easily alienate the affections of her partner in life. If she is irritable and fault-finding; if none of his ways please her; if she takes no interest in his plans, and in what he does; if she forsakes her home when she should he there, and seeks happiness abroad; or if, at home, she never greets him with a smile; if she is wasteful of his earnings, and extravagant in her habits, it will be impossible to prevent the effects of such a course of life on his mind. And when a wife perceives the slightest evidence of alienated affection in her husband, she should inquire at once whether she has not given occasion for it, and exhibited such a spirit as tended inevitably to produce such a result.

(9) to secure mutual love, therefore, it is necessary that there should be mutual kindness, and mutual loveliness of character. Whatever is seen to be offensive or painful, should be at once abandoned. All the little peculiarities of temper and modes of speech that are observed to give pain, should be forsaken; and, while one party should endeavor to tolerate them, and not to be offended, the other should make it a matter of conscience to remove them.

(10) the great secret of conjugal happiness is in the cultivation of a proper temper. It is not so much in the great and trying scenes of life that the strength of virtue is tested; it is in the events that are constantly occurring; the manifestation of kindness in the things that are happening every moment; the gentleness that flows along every day, like the stream that winds through the meadow and around the farm-house, noiseless but useful, diffusing fertility by day and by night. Great deeds rarely occur. The happiness of life depends little on them, but mainly on the little acts of kindness in life. We need them everywhere; we need them always. And eminently in the marriage relation there is need of gentleness and love, returning each morning, beaming in the eye, and dwelling in the heart through the livelong day.

33. Nevertheless—not to pursue further the mystical meaning of marriage. Translate, as Greek, "Do ye also (as Christ does) severally each one so love," &c. The words, "severally each one," refer to them in their individual capacity, contrasted with the previous collective view of the members of the Church as the bride of Christ. Nevertheless; q.d. Setting aside this mystery; or, to return to my former exhortation.

Love his wife even as himself; as her that is one flesh with him.

Reverence her husband; or fear, yet not with a servile, but ingenuous fear, and such as proceeds from love.

Nevertheless, let everyone of you in particular,.... The apostle returns to his former subject, and recapitulates the mutual duties of husband and wife, after he had enforced them from the instance and example of Christ, and his church; and would have every married person in particular take the directions and instructions given, to themselves: as that the husband

so love his wife even as himself; since they two are one flesh:

and the wife see that she reverence her husband; since he leaves father and mother for her, and is the head of her; See Gill on Ephesians 5:22.

{16} Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

(16) The conclusion both of the husband's duty toward his wife, and of the wife's toward her husband.

Ephesians 5:33. Πλήν] is usually explained to the effect, that it leads back to the proper theme after the digression of Ephesians 5:30-32, or merely Ephesians 5:32 (Olshausen). “Paulus prae nobilitate digressionis quasi oblitus propositae rei nunc ad rem revertitur,” Bengel. A digression, however, has certainly not taken place, but Ephesians 5:30-31 essentially belong to the description of the love of Christ to the church, and Ephesians 5:32 was a brief gloss pertaining to the right understanding of Ephesians 5:31, and not a digression. And πλήν is used by way doubtless of breaking off (Luke 19:27, al.), but not of resuming. So also here: Yet—not further to enter upon the subject of this μυστήριονye also ought (as Christ the church), each one individually, in such manner (οὕτως, i.e. in keeping with the ideal of Christ contained in this μυστήριον) to love his own wife as himself. With καί the persons appealed to, and with οὕτως the mode of what they are to do, are placed in a parallel with Christ.

οἱ καθʼ ἕνα] ye one by one, vos singuli, man by man. See Matthiae, p. 1357. The following verb, however, has taken its regimen from ἕκαστος, not from the proper subject ἡμεῖς, as often also in classical writers. See Matthiae, p. 765; Stallbaum, ad Gorg. p. 503 E; Bornemann, ad Cyrop. iii. 1. 8.

The twofold designation οἱ καθʼ ἕνα ἕκαστος strengthens the conception, that each one without exception, etc.

ὡς ἑαυτόν] as himself, so that the love issues from, and is determined by, the point of view: ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ, Ephesians 5:28.

ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἵνα φοβῆται τὸν ἄνδρα] ἡ δὲ γυνή is with emphasis absolutely (Winer, p. 506 [E. T. 722]) prefixed, not yet dependent on the notion of volo (see on 2 Corinthians 8:7) to be supplied in thought before ἵνα. Hence: but the wife—she ought to fear her husband. In this brief stern closing utterance, the apostle, while stating the obligation of the husband to love the wife ὡς ἑαυτόν, yet secures as concerns the wife the relation of subordination, namely, the duty of reverence for the husband—a duty, which is not done away with by that obligation on the part of the husband. “Optime cohaerebit concordia, si utrimque constabunt officia,” Erasmus, Paraphr. Rightly, we may add, in accordance with the context Oecumenius defines the notion of φοβῆται: ὡς πρέπει γυναῖκα φοβεῖσθαι, μὴ δουλοπρεπῶς. See Ephesians 5:22-24.

Ephesians 5:33. πλὴν καὶ ὑμεῖς οἱ καθʼ ἕνα: nevertheless ye also severally. πλήν, connected probably with πλέον and meaning primarily further, besides, is used both for unfolding (= moreover); and for restricting (= howbeit, nevertheless; cf. Thayer-Grimm, ut sup., p. 517; Donaldson, Greek Gram., § 548). Here probably it has the latter application, = “nevertheless, not to say more of that higher union, see that ye, all of you, fulfil the obligation of love to your wives”. The distributive phrase οἱ καθʼ ἕνα, “ye one by one,” individualises the ὑμεῖς, and excludes all exceptions. The καί conjoins the ὑμεῖς with Christ, = “in you also, as in Christ, love is to be fulfilled”. ἕκαστος τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα οὕτως ἀγαπάτω ὡς ἑαυτόν: let each one of you love his own wife as himself. The sentence, which has begun with the plural ὑμεῖς, when it reaches its verb follows the nearest ἕκαστος, and gives ἀγαπάτω instead of ἀγαπᾶτε. The ἕκαστος expresses still more emphatically the absoluteness and universality of the Christian duty of conjugal love—a duty from which no single husband is exempt. As in Ephesians 5:28 the ὡς means not merely that each husband is to love his wife as he loves himself, but that he is to love her as being himself, part and parcel of himself according to the Divine idea of the marriage union.—ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἵνα φοβῆται τὸν ἄνδρα: and the wife—let her see that she fear her husband. ἡ γυνή is a nom. absol. of a simple kind and emphatic; the δέ is metabatic and slightly adversative; = “so much has been said of the husband, and as to the wife now, reverence is her part”. The change in the construction from the usual imperative to the form ἵνα φοβῆται is explained by some by supplying βλεπέτω, as βλέπετε stands in Ephesians 5:15. But ἵνα with the conj. is used elsewhere in the NT (Mark 5:23; 2 Corinthians 8:7) as an imperative formula, originally no doubt an elliptical form for “I bid you that you do,” or “see you that you do”. It occurs also in later Greek prose (e.g., Arrian, Epict., iv., 1, 41), as the corresponding formula ὅπως is used in the same way in classical Greek with the fut. indic. (Aristoph., Nubes, 823), and more occasionally with the conj. (Xen., Cyr., i, 3, 18). So in Latin, ibi ut sint omnia parata, Cic., Fam., xiv., 20 (cf. Donaldson, Greek Gram., p. 602; Win.-Moult., p. 396). φοβῆται, fear, in the sense of reverence, spontaneous, obedient regard; cf. the frequent application of the verb to the fear of God (Luke 1:50; Luke 18:2; Luke 18:4; Acts 10:2; Acts 10:22; Acts 10:35, etc.); and its use in the case of Herod (Mark 6:20).

33. Nevertheless] The word recalls the reader from the Divine but incidental “mystery” of the mystical Union to the holy relationship which is at once a type of it and sanctified and glorified by it.

of you] Add, with the Gr., also: “you Christian husbands, as well as the heavenly Husband.”

his wife] His own wife, as above, Ephesians 5:28.

reverence] Lit., “fear,” and so R.V. The fear of respect, of reverence, is obviously meant, and we prefer the expression of this as in A.V. The word “fear” is indeed continually used in Scripture of the holy and happy reverence of man for God, and so has lost all necessary connexion with painful ideas. But just because we have here a precept for a human mutual relation, the word which best keeps painful ideas out seems to be not only the most beautiful, but the most true to the import of the Greek, in such a context.

Ephesians 5:33. Πλὴν, nevertheless) Paul, as it were forgetful of the matter in hand by reason of the noble character of the digression, returns now to his subject.—ἵνα, that) Supply I will, or I wish, or something similar; comp. 1 Corinthians 4:2, note, 1 Corinthians 7:29; 2 Corinthians 8:13. The particle gives force; the ellipsis, in a feeling of courtesy, restrains that force.


Verse 33. - Nevertheless let each of you severally so love his own wife even as himself. The "nevertheless" refers to the unsolved part of the mystery: whatever may be mysterious, there is no mystery as to this, as to the duty of each husband to love his wife even as himself: that, as already shown, is clear from many considerations. And let the wife see that she fear her husband. Not, of course, with the slavish fear of one terrified and trembling because of a stronger being, but with the holy respect due to one to whom, by the will of God, she stands in a subordinate relation. The relation of Sarah to Abraham may again be referred to as indicating the true ideal of the relation of the wife to the husband.

Ephesians 5:33Nevertheless

Not to dwell longer on the mystical aspect of the subject.

Even as himself

Not as much as he loves himself, but as being his very self.

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