Introduction Ephesians 5:21-33 addresses the roles of the husband and the wife in light of the

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Ephesians 5:21-33 addresses the roles of the husband and the wife in light of the position each holds as a result of being in Christ. The passage is located in the latter half of the book of Ephesians, which is developed primarily around the “walk” passages. Chapter 4-6 are the direct application of chapters 1-3. The commands to husbands and wives are found in the last exhortation to walk carefully. The focus of the exhortation to “walk carefully” is a variety of relationships: husband/wife, children/parents, with a focus on fathers, and slaves/masters. This passage teaches how redemption and the sanctification process is to affect these relationships, including the marriage relationship between a man a woman. In other words,
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The important question that this section will try to answer is how this call for submission to one another relates to the specific instructions to wives.
In seeking to understand this question most egalitarians place a lot of weight on the fact that in verse 22 there is no verb in the Greek text. While these manuscripts that lack the verb “submit” are important there are other important manuscripts that do in fact include the verb. As a result, the verb the verb to submit in verse 20 is understood to carry over into verse 21 or is repeated. Verse 21 should then be considered as a transitional statement. Verse 21 is transitional in that it states a general and comprehensive principle before Paul moves to the specific roles of husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and slaves, so that the specific is considered in the light of the general. This understanding of the role of verse 21 is in line with the contextual understanding found elsewhere in Paul and Peter where a similar exhortation is given. One example of this is seen in 1 Peter 5:5. Here Peter urges “all of you” to be humble toward one another immediately after exhorting the younger ones to be subject to their elders. Just as Peter expresses both ideas in one verse, so also Paul expresses the general note of mutual submission in
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