Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Beth Moore on Marriage....

I've been diligently working through Beth Moore's To Live Is Christ, The Life and Ministry of Paul.  Like any study I've ever done by Beth, I HIGHLY recommend it.

This study has taken me through the book of Acts, which upon reading it for the first time (I know!?!?!?) last year, has quickly become one of my favorites.  The last week or two of the study covers some of the epistles, written by Paul.  

This morning we were in Ephesians, which is another one of my top favorite books of the Bible. Is there any better prayer than this?

 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  Ephesians 1:17-19

So, when Beth said we were going to Ephesians, I was pretty stoked. (Yes, Mr. Red Squiggle, Ephesians is a word!  Ever heard of a little book called the Bible?)

I was surprised, though I don't know why, when she landed in chapter 5, and chose marriage. This has been a much discussed topic with a friend, as of late, and while I was interested to hear Beth's take on the whole submission business, it wasn't where I had expected her to go, based on the study up to this point.

Again, like anything Beth does, it was good.  Real good.

Come along for the ride.

I love how she started it.  She says, "Stop and pray for an open mind and freedom from the hinderances of negative preconceptions."  Good idea.  I prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to know about marriage.  Not Beth, not me, not any church that has ever added their 2 cents.

She started off by talking about the role of Christian wives.  She draws from her own experience, and says this: "When I'm not in agreement with Keith, I usually speak up, and we pray and work it out - at times less easily than others!  This spirit of praying things through until we can come to consensus on important issues is the essence of mutual respect and the opposite of "lording it over one another."

She lists 4 things that submission is not.

1.  Submission does not mean women are under the authority of men in general.  She references the King James Version of Ephesians 5:22.  "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands."

2.  Submission does not mean inequality.  She references Galations 3:28.  "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  She also says, "Spiros Zodhiates' definition of the original Greek word hupotasso explains that submission 'is not due to her being inferior to her husband, for they are both equal before God.'"

3.  Submission does not mean wives are to treat their husbands like God.  She says this, "The Bible Knowledge Commentary explains, 'As to the Lord' does not mean that a wife is to submit to her husband in the same way she submits to the Lord, but rather that her submission to her husband is her service rendered 'to the Lord.'"

4. Submission does not mean slavery. She says, "Paul uses an entirely different word in Ehpesians 6:5 when he instructs slaves to obey their masters.  This Greek word for obey, hupakous, embraces more of the meaning people often mistakenly associate with marital submission.  Hupokuo means 'to obey, to yield to a superior command or force (without necessarily being willing).' The term draws a picture of a soldier saluting his officer, not a wife submitting to her husband!

Now that we have a better understanding of what submission isn't, let's look at what it is.

Beth says this:

"The Greek word for submit is hupotasso.  Hupo means "under" and tasso means "to place in order."  The compound word hupotasso means "to place under or in an orderly fashion." Paul didn't dislike women, he liked ORDER!  He advocated order in the church, order in government, order in business, and, yes, order in the home....  Paul regarded husbands and wives as spiritual equals but with functional differences."

Is anyone else relieved?  I was brought up in more of a "lord it over" atmosphere, so I found this take rather quite refreshing.  Don't misread.  I'm down with WHATEVER God says.  I just want to have a correct view of what that actually is.  And when God seems to endorse (or is said to, by someone else) something that conflicts with a lot of other scripture, and quite frankly, His character?  Well, that's a smidgie difficult to reconcile....  That's why I love what she said next....

"Any misuse of submission by either the husband or the wife is sin."

Amen, sister.

Now onto the men.

The Role of Christian Husbands:

"The original Greek word for love agapo meaning "to esteem, love, indicating a direction of the will and finding one's joy in something or someone." Notice the phrase indicating a direction of the will.  A husband is called by God to exercise his will to love his wife.  Love is not simply an emotion or a feeling.  Love is a willingness to continue in devotion and goodness toward the spouse."

Her main points:

1.  Husbands should love their wives sacrificially "as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."  She says this, "Just as a husband must be careful not to abuse his wife's exhortation to submission, a wife must not abuse her husband's exhortation to sacrifice.

Good word, Beth.

2.  Husbands should love their wives in ways that encourage purity.  She says this, "Christ encourages purity in His bride, the church, desiring for her to be holy and without stain.  God calls upon husbands to treat their wives as pure vessels even in physical intimacy."

3.  Husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies.  

Then she gives an excellent analogy.  Excellent.

"Think of marriage as a three legged stool.  The legs are a submissive wife, a loving husband, and Christ.  All three legs must be in place for marriage to work as God intended.  A wife submitting to an unloving husband is as lopsided as a husband sacrificing for a domineering wife.  When Christ is not the head of the marriage relationship, the stool falls indeed.  Paul pictures for us God's ideal marriage relationship.  Sadly, many Christian women are trying to keep their stools balanced with only one leg in place - their submission."  

Do you know any women like that?  I do.  How unfortunate.

Her last point is on the role of Christ in marriage.  It can be summed up with one verse. "For by him all things were created....and in him all things hold together."  Colossians 1:16-17  Okay make that parts of two verses.  Math isn't my thing...

Beth says, "Only God created marriage, and only He can hold it together."

If you're married you have felt the truth of that statement.  If you're not and you ever do get married, you will feel the truth of that statement.  Because if I know anything in this life, it's that that is a true statement.

While I know that God is not finished with us, I'm thankful to have a lot of the learning and pain and frustration that comes with marriage in the rear view mirror. I'm not delusional, I know there is more to come, but it is so much easier to trust that God will complete that which He began in us, when I've seen him do it time and time again.  If you're in the middle of a trial - believe me when I say He can and will do way way more than you could ever think to ask or imagine. I've seen it happen in my own house.  My mind has been blown, I tell ya. 

I guess that's all for today.  See?  Just when I think I have nothing to share?  I'm right, again.  I just stole every smart thing Beth Moore ever thought about writing on pages 184-188 of To Live Is Christ.  

I hope I don't get arrested.  I don't think I'd be singing in my jail cell.


Tina said...

Hi there - I came across your blog from a comment you left on Chronicles of a Babywise Mom blog. I follow it too. Anyways, just wanted to let you know that I stopped by and enjoyed your site (I'm a Beth Moore fan, too)!

Holly said...

Sounds like a interesting Bible study! It seems to be very popular, I've come across a lot of people mentioning it in blogs lately. :)

Rina said...

You know, I don't think I've ever read anything by Beth Moore. I'm going to have to look her up! I loved the stool analogy, too - that's a great way of looking at it!

Anonymous said...

Hi there - writing from South Africa. I am also a great fan of Beth Moore - busy with her Daniel bible study at my church. Came across your blog when googling 'Beth Moore on submission in marriage'. Another great book is 'Why not Women' by David Hamilton and Loren Cunningham - the book is recommended by Joyce Meyer and John Bevere. It has changed my life and I can highly recommend it.

kentfitzsimmons said...

Rachel, in 4. you stated that Submission does not mean slavery. I totally agree with that. But Beth Moore is wrong about wives obeying husbands when she says, "Paul uses an entirely different word in Ehpesians 6:5 when he instructs slaves to obey their masters. This Greek word for obey, hupakous, embraces more of the meaning people often mistakenly associate with marital submission. Hupokuo means 'to obey, to yield to a superior command or force (without necessarily being willing).' The term draws a picture of a soldier saluting his officer, not a wife submitting to her husband!

Rachel, the greek word hupokuo does appear in I Peter 3:6 where it says that "Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord". Always remember, although Beth Moore is a wonderful person and teacher, she's not always right and that is why you must study to show yourself approved unto God.