Ephesians 5:28 MEANING

Ephesians 5:28
(28) So ought men to love their wives . . .--From this glorious digression; applying only to the divine Antitype, St. Paul comes back to the one point, in which the type may imitate it--that is, a deep and unfailing love. "So" refers to the previous verse, describing the love of Christ, not to the "as" following; otherwise the want of connection would be strangely abrupt. Moreover, from this idea of the love of Christ as the pattern, the latter part of this verse and the following verses naturally arise. Christ loves the Church as His body, a part of Himself. Hence the idea that the husband is "the head of the wife" gives place to the absolute identification of himself with his wife, as "one flesh."

He that loveth his wife loveth himself.--All right "love of our neighbour" is directed to be given to him "as to ourselves." It is to be of the same kind as the love of self--that is, first, an instinct (as of self-preservation); and next a rational and settled principle (as of reasonable self-love, seeking our own perfection, which is our happiness). Here, however, this love to our neighbour is actually identified with self-love. The wife is the husband's very self; he can no more fail to love her than to love himself, though (again to follow the example of Christ) he may love her better than himself. We may note that this identification of husband and wife is the basis of all ecclesiastical, and, in great degree, of all civil, law of Christian nations as to marriage.

Verse 28. - Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. A new illustration is introduced here to throw light on the bearing of the husband to his wife, and the οὕτως seems to refer, not to what goes before, but to what follows (comp. in ver. 33). He that loveth his own wife loveth himself. His wife is part of himself, so that not to love her as himself is not only a sin against law, but a sin against nature.

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.So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies,.... It is a common saying with the Jews, that a man's wife is "as his own body" (r); and it is one of the precepts of their wise men, that a man should honour his wife more than his body, , and "love her as his body" (s); for as they also say, they are but one body (t); the apostle seems to speak in the language of his countrymen; however, his doctrine and theirs agree in this point: wherefore

he that loveth his wife loveth himself; because she is one body and flesh with him.

(r) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 24. 1. & Becorot, fol. 35. 2. Maimon. Hilchot Becorot, c. 2. sect. 17. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 18. 2.((s) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 62. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 76. 2. Derech Eretz, fol. 17. 4. Maimon Hilchot Ishot, c. 15. sect. 19. (t) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 3.

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