It seems for a while now that I’m always late, not quite up with the play, one step behind so to speak. Yesterday for example, September 19, 2016 was a good day to write a post, as it was ‘Suffrage’ day – the day to remember and celebrate when New Zealand women gained the right to vote in 1893! This is celebrated all the more here in New Zealand, as we were the first self-governing country in the world to extend this right to all women! Pat on the back for NZ and all other countries who have done likewise, unfortunately voting for women has still some way to go in this world and we need to remember and pray for those whose rights of equality are withheld by their countries tradition and rule.
Yesterday, however, was just one of two days that would have been good to have marked with a post. As it happens Sunday the 18th of September was also ‘International Wife Appreciation Day’… this was a new one for me – I had never heard of this one before! Nevertheless I did manage to gain some belated appreciation the day after the event –next year I’ll try to remember in time…
So in belatedly commemorating both days, I want to place before you the wonderful passage of Ephesians 5:21-33 … the well known and loved passage of the bible that speaks of the unity and oneness of a wife and her husband. I have written that slightly facetiously as we all know this passage has been used wrongfully to control and manipulate women, being taught from the pulpit and shamefully used by many husbands themselves.
We know (or should know) this whole passage illustrates mutual submission for the building up of each other in Yeshua –regarding each other as more important or as important as ourselves. First Paul speaks to the wives, then to the husbands. It should be clear and simple but alas there seems to be a twist in the English translation of verse 33 that skews the emphasis of mutual submission in the Greek, rendering it more-so to one of ‘lordship’ and hierarchical ordering. In biblehub.com all 25 English translation versions of the text command the woman to respect, reverence or fear her husband.
It seems Paul wasn’t finished with his instruction to women and ends the passage concerning the husband with a final slap given to her, thus allowing room for male self-entitlement to grow and flourish within our most intimate relationship with one other. Way to go scribes – Déjà vu – Jeremiah 8:8!
One little Greek word appears missing in most translations or misapplied to swing Pauls teaching into supporting and strengthening the status quo of what has been and still is most of secular society. Not too dissimilar to the pagan men of Persia ensuring their wives honour them in the book of Esther (Esther 1:19-21).
NIV However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
NASB Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
The word that is missing, misapplied or under-translated in our English versions is the Greek word ἵνα –hina – meaning– for the purpose that (in order that / so that), looking to the aim (intended result) of the verbal idea.
Therefore v 33 would read simply –
‘However, also each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself in order that the wife might/would respect her husband.’
We in our Christian sphere seem to have forgotten that respect is earned, being the natural consequence of one’s righteous actions toward others. Because YeHoWaH is always concerned with our heart, we know that it is not just outward lip service of respect for our husbands Paul is talking about. Treating people respectfully does not necessarily equate with respecting them. And demanding respect from another just doesn’t work -all it produces is resentment and ultimately disrespect within that person’s heart for them.
There is no entitlement of a husband to expect respect from his wife in this passage, just a sweet response given for his loving her as himself – as an equal.
Heavenly Father – YeHoWaH Elohim, may Your Name be honoured in our relationships one to another. As we have known Your boundless grace toward us personally so may we also be rich in grace toward others. Amen.
picture sourced from here