Summary: 1) The basic matter of the submission (Ephesians 5:22a), then with its 2) Manner & Motive (Ephesians 5:22b-23a), as well as the 3) Model (Ephesians 5:23b-24).
For the past several hundred years western society has been bombarded with the humanistic, egalitarian, sexless, classless philosophy that was the dominant force behind the French Revolution. The blurring and even total removal of all human distinctions continues to be masterminded by Satan so as to undermine legitimate, God–ordained authority in every realm of human activity—in government, the family, the school, and even in the church. We find ourselves victimized by the godless, atheistic concepts of humanity’s supreme independence from every external law and authority. The philosophy is self–destructive, because no group of people can live in orderliness and productivity if each person is bent on doing their own will. The idea of subordination to authority in general, as well as in the family, is out of favour in a world which prizes permissiveness and freedom. ... Subordination smacks of exploitation and oppression that are deeply resented. But authority is not synonymous with tyranny, and the submission to which the apostle refers (in Ephesians 5) does not imply inferiority ((O’Brien, P. T. (1999). The letter to the Ephesians (p. 414). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).)
Few areas of modern living have been so distorted and corrupted by the devil and the world and caused the church so much confusion as those of marriage and the family. It is these issues that Paul confronts in Ephesians 5:22—6:9. He expands and clarifies the general principle of mutual submission (“be subject to one another in the fear of Christ,” v 21) by giving several illustrations from the family, beginning with the relationship of husbands and wives. Scripture makes clear that there are no spiritual or moral distinctions among Christians. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). There are no classifications of Christians. Every believer in Jesus Christ has exactly the same salvation, the same standing before God, the same divine nature and resources, as well as the same divine promises and inheritance (cf Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; James 1:1–9).
Because so much of the church has long disregarded the full teaching of Scripture, many believers find some of its truths to be unfamiliar and even hard to accept. And because the church has been so engulfed in, identified with, and victimized by worldly standards, God’s standards seem out–of–date, irrelevant, and offensive to modern mentalities. His way is so high and so contrary to the way of the world that it is incomprehensible to many in and out of the church.
In Ephesians 5:22–24 Paul begins this list by outlining the role, duties, and priorities of the wife in relation to her husband’s authority First he deals with 1) The basic matter of the submission (Ephesians 5:22a), then with its 2) Manner & Motive (Ephesians 5:22b-23a), as well as the 3) Model (Ephesians 5:23b-24).