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23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.


as also Christ is head of the church;

As Christ relates to the church, so the husband should relate to the wife. The husband should treat his wife like Christ handles the church.

As the head of the church, Jesus provides blessing to the church through His grace. The relation of the wife to her husband is one of headship, just as her relation to Christ is one of headship.

and He is the Savior of the body.

The wife’s submission to the Lord rests on the fact that He sacrificed His life for her sins. Christ’s relation to the church was to give Himself in self-giving love.

Jesus accepted the role of head over the church (the “body”). He gave Himself to the church to save it. Under the same principle, the husband is to give himself for his wife.


A home without a head is chaos.


The husband’s relationship to the wife is parallel to Jesus’ role as the Savior of the church. The husband should be self-sacrificing like Jesus was to the church. Although there is a comparison to Jesus, there is a greater contrast.

The example set by Jesus as the head of the church modifies the jerk husband who thinks he is Genghis Khan. Jesus expresses the kind of leadership the husband should have. God established male leadership as the result of the fall (Ge 3:16; 1 Ti 2:12-14).

No husband should domineer his wife; he should follow Christ’s example. Headship involves more than authority. Christ is the supreme model of submission (1 Co 11:1ff). He voluntarily submitted to the cross to pay for our sin. He is also the model to the husband for love. The wife should realize that her husband is designed to sacrifice and care for her.

The idea that the husband sacrifice for the wife was extremely countercultural in Roman society. In that culture it was the wife who sacrificed for her husband. The husband’s sacrifice for the wife would have been surprising to Roman culture.

The husband’s authority over the wife as the “head” was a type of authority not seen in Roman society. The head was a position of honor to be deferred to by others. However, for the head to sacrifice for the wife was something unknown. For the husband to make decision on what is best for the wife, not himself, was something very countercultural. This love for the wife was a greater issue than the wife’s submission to the husband.