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Summary: Part 2 of effective family living series.

How to be a great wife

By Andrew Chan, Senior Pastor, Grace International Baptist

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Eph.5:21-24 (NIV)

What’s that topic gotta do with me? You’re thinking that right? This can get in me in trouble! Esp. me a male, how am I qualified to speak on this? Esp. when most males are maybe thinking it’s hockey playoffs time! But hey, what happens after the playoffs? Some of us will still have a wife, that is if they have not felt abandoned for a month or more. Is this a timely issue or what? After the playoffs, some of us perhaps looking for a partner in life and want to have God’s perspective in choosing a partner. Some here are wives and perhaps looking for an encouraging word from God regarding their roles. Then there are those will be a wife or is a wife or want to help or support someone else to be a great wife, or have a mom and as kid you could help be a great wife your dad, or a daughter you can guide to be a great wife or as a single person learn some principles of relationship building. I believe this topic relates to all, and also because we are the church, for God views the church as His wife, bride, dearly loved. Collectively, we are to be a great wife for God!

There was this couple… totally in love and Christians too. While preparing for their wedding, they thought of honouring God by using a Scripture reference on their wedding cake. So they asked the bakery to inscribe on their wedding cake with "1 John 4:18" which reads “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." Sounds great eh?

However, something happened, the bakery evidently lost, smudged or otherwise misread the noted reference, and beautifully inscribed on the cake "John 4:18" instead of 1 John 4:18 which says ... "for you have had five husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband."

How to be a great wife? First, don’t have five husbands. That’ll be messy. Love the one you have now. Next, to be great wife, well, according to the Bible in Ephesians , just submit to your husbands. That’s all. That’s the Bible’s teaching. Case closed. Let’s move on to the next subject.

However, there are complications. It’s not case closed. It is not that simple. We live in complicated times and we need to apply the unchanging truths of the Bible to our changing times, to our contemporary scene. And because our scene, our society assumes there is equality between men and women, how can this instruction then make any sense. The words “submit to your husbands” and husbands as “the head of the wife”. What do those words mean for us today? Just as Stuart Briscoe once noted: “We can’t manipulate the Bible to fit our culture, and we can’t isolate the Bible without applying it to the human world around us. We’ve got to say, ‘The Bible commands it. What did it mean then, and how does it apply today?’ ”

A. What did submission mean in Bible times?

1. Assumption of a Female Workforce:

That women in biblical times didn’t work or use their gifts outside the home is a common misunderstanding. Many think women should be home and raising kids if they were to be great wives. Stuart Briscoe noted: “Women in those days worked in the fields with their husbands or generated income in other ways.” For instance, think of the story of Ruth. If she didn’t go to work, she would not eat. Ruth 2

1 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz.

2 And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor." Naomi said to her, "Go ahead, my daughter."

3 So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.

4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The LORD be with you!" "The LORD bless you!" they called back.

5 Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, "Whose young woman is that?"

6 The foreman replied, "She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi.

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