And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Recently I presented a paper in my DMin class on what the Bible teaches about order in the marriage partnership.  This paper sought to define terms, exposit pertinent scriptures, and provide practical application. It also sought to make the reader aware of how some well intended Christian teachers have complicated the issue.  Thus, in a hopes that what I have found and written will benefit you,I am presenting this paper over the next several posts.  Should you have questions or comments, you may send them to

Application Today

            This then leads us into an application of what order in a marriage ought to look like as based upon the scriptures.  The biblical counselor needs to be well versed in the aforementioned scriptures, by the teaching of which will provide the basis necessary and the authority needed to effect change; they also give clear direction rather than mere opinion.  The following paragraphs will highlight the points that require scrutiny.  These areas are often shortcomings in understanding as well as application in a marriage.  The biblical counselor should systematically probe the couple with questions and encourage through teaching the scriptures, and reinforce biblical principles through homework.  Ultimately, hope is given by showing God’s design and empowerment for a marriage to follow these patterns.

            As God began with Adam so shall we with a word to men.   Scripturally, more is directed toward the husband than the wife, and this should be understood clearly by all husbands for everyday application.  Just as God created the land to support plant life and then animals in turn, the husband as created by God sets the supportive framework for the marriage and the family.  This paper has not dealt with the nature of families, given its limited scope.  However, it should be duly noted that a proper marriage order supports a time of cleaving before children come into the relationship.  This is crucial, as well-joined couples are God’s best for the family in supporting and raising godly offspring.   The biblical counselor would do well to take couples through Genesis chapter 2 to help establish God’s ideal for marriage.  In this chapter as discussed previously, the counselor can help define roles of the husband and wife as well as establish an understanding of the symbiotic relationship.

Loving one’s wife is not a legalistic duty but a delight.  True love comes from the heart out of a desire to see the other better off, not solely because God commanded it.  The goal here is a heart that loves God, and one’s mate as Christ loved the church.  In Ephesians 5 we are given the command to love our wives, yet it is in the context “as Christ loved the church.”   In counseling, the couple needs to be discipled in the beauty of the Christ and church relationship.  A quick survey of the life of Christ will reveal many character traits that are applicable to husbandry.  Christ is seen as patient with His disciples and thus the church. He always spoke the truth, but not in a hurried or angry fashion.  His affections for the church were great, even to the point of denying self and laying down His life.  A husband needs this same desire within himself.  He needs to be proficient at abiding in Christ and seeking sanctification, for not only his own sake but that of his spouse as well.  Jesus illustrates this in His custom of getting away either late night or early morning to pray.  Husbands should be taught by the counselor the mechanics how to seek an abiding in Christ.

Another example is how He overcomes temptation by refusing compromise, as that would fail to seek God’s glory.  In counseling a good practical exercise for the husband is to search the scriptures to learn how Jesus talks of His church and to list out ways in which He went about seeking her best interest.  To apply this research and to foster good communication, a husband needs to ensure that he has regular time with his wife in which she is the sole focus.  Dates out to dinner or for coffee ought to be sacred times of loving just as worship is for the Christian.  The wife is not to be worshipped in these situations.  However, just as worship involves praise, giving, listening, learning, and applicable response, so these date nights also should involve similar traits.

Particular attention is to be given to the areas of sexual intimacy.  Counselors need to carefully share the spiritual benefits of healthy God honoring sex.  This would include instruction that the biblical nature of the union of the two fleshes is giving oneself unto the other.  It is to be a time of selflessness.  This oneness serves to increase all areas of intimacy as well as protecting one another from temptation.  The dangers of pornography must be discussed as they subvert God’s order of intimacy.  Counselors need to help couples understand how to serve one another in actions and frequency of sexual union.  Often, sexual intercourse may need to be prescribed as homework.

A husband needs to keep in mind his accountability before God, the call to be separate from the world, and overcoming personal weaknesses.  Thus with the charge of these aforementioned scriptures, a husband needs to be ever mindful of answering unto God how he has loved his wife and taken care of her. 

Second Timothy 3 warns and equips the husband with the word of God for his leadership role. We learn that it is the word of God that sets the standard for sanctification, through the word.  Chapter four of the same book charges the reader to endure and do the work of an evangelist. In a like manner, Ephesians 5 gives charge to the husband to be about the work of sanctification in his wife.  It is therefore implied that the same work is being done in his own life.  This sanctification process is a high calling. It can become one of the greatest areas of growth for the marriage and therefore a consistent working out of one’s salvation will further strengthen the bonds of the two fleshes.  A husband needs to be proactive in sanctification.  Worship and church involvement are to be nonnegotiable.  In the home, the husband is to actively know his wife’s heart and seek to build her up in the things of God.  It is imperative that he protect her in this manner.  This was apparently a point of failure or Adam and Eve.  The husband must seek ways to put off sin and put on righteousness.  This should include, at a minimum, daily prayer together, the sharing of scriptures, the rejoicing in the triumphs and blessings of God, and the loving rebuke of things that are not of God.

For the husband, listening to his wife in order to know her struggles is part and parcel of the leadership role in marriage.  In God’s order, the husband is to be the spiritual head of the home.  He needs to take serious steps to ensure good communication with his household.  Therefore, in loving his wife as Christ loves the church, he needs to work gracefully and patiently in understanding his rib.   The New Testament teachings of 1 Peter 3 describe the wife as the weaker vessel.  This does not imply that she is inferior.  Rather it uses the Greek word, gnosis, to command the husband to be understanding of his wife.  Therefore, it illustrates that she needs tender care.  In order to care for her it is thusly implied that as a leader the husband know the condition of her spirit.  Husbands should be instructed to daily make a priority of taking time to communicate with his wife.  This communication needs to share details of his day, feelings, and expectations in a reciprocal, undistracted manner.  Proper active responses should thusly follow.   This comes through listening with compassion and tenderness.  Further support of understanding the struggles of one’s wife is understood when studying Genesis 3, Ephesians 5, and all of 1 Peter 3.

            In turning to an application of biblical order to the wife’s role we need to apply the two strongest commands: that the wife be subject to and respect her husband.  Again, the idea of submission is not that she be a doormat.  She should lovingly respect and support her husband, first through doing all unto the glory of God, and second considering that he is her ministry.[i]  Biblical counselors must help the wife understand that her being alongside as one flesh does not constrain her, but liberates her to experience marriage at its fullest.

            We see this principal strongly supported by Proverbs 31.  Her husband’s praise among men is directly related to her ministry in the marriage.  This passage demonstrates that she honors her husband, and he in turn praises her.  A woman who dishonors her mate should not expect blessing.  However, even if the husband dishonors her, as often is the case, she must still fulfill her role as unto the Lord.  Biblical counselors need to help wives study these principles, and then apply them through practical application.  It is imperative however, that actions be a means to an end.  The utmost diligence needs to be paid to achieve a change of her heart.  This homework set would include her doing acts of service, holding her tongue, and in-depth Bible study.  To further apply these principles as homework, the husband should list ways in which she does, and does not, show him submission and respect.  These would then be used as areas in need of sanctification.

            A woman struggling to respect her husband can find much help in the body of believers.  As admonished in the scriptures, older women are to help the younger.  Often, older women have had to deal with these same issues.  If they are godly, they can be a great encouragement to the younger women with prayer and fellowship, sharing biblical wisdom.

The true woman of God who submits to and respects her husband will have a heart that loves God and forbears her husband’s faults.  This is not always easy.  Dreams and hopes are often not fulfilled, leading to disappointment.  However, if the heart of the wife, and the husband, can be oriented toward God, they can be redirected through sanctification.  Thus a wife’s dreams and passions are replaced by a desire to walk with God by ministering to her husband.  The wife needs to see her husband as God’s instrument for her growth in Christ.  Just as Genesis 3 tells us that the wife will have a desire for her husband and that he will rule over her, she must be helped in understanding that even though this is a consequence of the fall, God works it for her good.

Supporting the husband as a partner alongside incorporates the care of the home.  Again, Proverbs 31 illustrates how a godly woman spends her time.  This passage surmises what we see directed in Ephesians 5 as well as 1 Peter 3.  It should be emphasized that the woman depicted is not a super hero.  Rather, her heart for ministering to her husband and children engages her to minster to her family as the priority of life.  Her fear of the Lord, verse 30, is a motivating factor.  In biblical counseling much time ought to be spent in understanding the doctrine of fearing God.

  To be suitable helpers, wives need to be thrifty, organized, and forward thinking.   Counseling sessions ought to have homework that engages the wife in planning schedules: coordinating shopping, cleaning of the home, and social events, as well as leaving time to gather the family for devotions and fun activities.  This homework should help the wife budget resources, obligations, finances, needs, and time all for the goal of having a God honoring marriage.  In a society where women’s liberation is taught in place of home economics, the godly wife should look within the church to find an older woman who would help her in these duties.[ii]



            God has shown us in His word the order He has ordained for marriage.  A God honoring marriage is one in which a man and woman are joined together to become one flesh and live for His glory.  It is a process in which two sinners find His hand at work in personal sanctification, which brings the couple into a unity that demonstrates to the world His plan to redeem a lost world.  A harmonious union of marriage in Christ is a demonstration of Christ and His church.

[i] Peace, Martha. The Excellent Wife, Focus Publishing, Bemidji, MN. 1995.  P.4
[ii] Titus 2:3-5
Adams, Jay E., Solving Marriage Problems: Biblical Solutions for Christian Counselors, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1983.
Beale, G. K. and Carson , D. A., Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI. 2007.
Brandt, Henry, and Landrum, Phil, I Want My Marriage to be Better, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976.
Chapman, Gary, The Five Love Languages, Chicago, Northfield Publishing, 1992.
Eggerichs, Emerson, Love and Respect, The Love She Most Desires, The Respect HE Desperately Needs, Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2004.
Eyrich, Howard, A.,  Three to Get Ready: Premarital Counseling Manual, Focus Publishing, 1987.
Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 2nd ed. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids. 1993.
Kostenberger, Andreas J. and Jones, David W., God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation, Crossway: Wheaton, IL, 2004.
Mack, Wayne, Maximum Impact: Living and Loving for God’s Glory, P & R Publishing: Phillipsburgh, NJ, 2010.
___________, Strengthen Your Marriage, P & R Publishing: Phillipsburgh, NJ, 1999.
Peace, Martha. The Excellent Wife, Focus Publishing, Bemidji, MN. 1995. 
Piper, John, This Momentary Marriage: a Parable of Permanence, Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL, 2009.
Scott, Stuart. The Exemplary Husband, Focus Publishing, Bemidji, MN. 2002
Anderson, Gary A. “A Marriage in Full” First Things (May 2008) (accessed October 23, 2012)
“Baptist Faith and Message."  Lifeway, Nashville, June 14, 2000.
Barrick, William D., “New Covenant Theology and the Old Testament Covenant” TMSJ Vol 18, No. 1, Fall 2007, p. 165-180.
Brighton, Louis A. “Where is the Holy Family Today? Marriage a Holy Covenant Before God- The Biblical Role of Man and Woman” Concordia Journal 31 no 3 (July 2005) (accessed October 23, 2012)
Gibson, Jack J. “Ephesians 5:21-33 and the Lack of Marital Unity in the Roman Empire” Bibliotheca Sacra 168 no 670 (April –June 2011) (accessed October 23, 2012)
Jones, Robert D., “God’s Place in Your Marriage”. Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. Vol 17, NO 1  Fall 1998. P.44-46.
Kreider, Glenn R. “God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundations”, Bibliotheca Sacra no 656 (Oct-Dec 2007), (accessed October 23, 2012)
Niehaus, Jeffery. “Covenant: an Idea in the Mind of God”, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 52 no 2, (June 2009) (accessed October 23, 2012)
Powlison, David. “Counsel Ephesians”. Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. Vol 17, NO 2, Winter 1991. P. 2-11.
Smith, Winston, “Understanding Headship and Submission”, Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. Vol 16, NO 2, Winter 1998. P.54-55.
Stanton, Glenn T. “Fact Checker: Divorce Rate Among Christians”. The Gospel Coalition. (Sept 25, 2012) Sept 25, 2012)
Sumner, Sarah; Duffy, Amanda (Illustrator), “Bridging the Ephesians 5 Divide: A Fresh Look at What this Controversial Marriage Passage Says-and Doesn’t Say,” Christianity Today 49 no 11(Nov. 2005), (accessed Oct 23, 2012).
Talbert, Charles H. “Are There Biblical Norms for Christian Marriage”, Journal of Family Ministry. 15 no 1. (Spring 2001) (accessed October 23, 2012)
Tarwater, John: Jones, David W. “Are biblical Covenants Dissoluble? Toward a Theology of Marriage”, Southwestern Journal of Theology. 47 no 1. (Fall 2004) (accessed October 23, 2012)
Tracey, Steven R., “What does Submit in everything” really mean? The Nature and Scope of Maritial Submission.” Trinity Journal ns 29 no 2 (Fall 2008). (accessed Oct 23, 2012)
Vernick, Leslie. “Getting to the Heart of the Matter in Marriage Counseling”. Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. Vol 12, no 3, Spring 1994. P 31-35.
White, Ernest. “Biblical Principles for Modern Family Living”. Review and Expositor.  75 no 1 1978, P.5-17
Wilcox, W Bradford “As the Family Goes” First Things no 173 (May 2007) (accessed October 23, 2012)
Witte, John, “The Meaning of Marriage” First Things no 126 (October 2002) (accessed October 23, 2012)
Fisher, G. Richard, “A Study in Evolving Fadism: the Dangerous Leanings of Bill Gothard’s Teachings” Personal Freedom Outreach. (accessed October 23, 2012)
Gothard, Bill “What I Teach”, (accessed October 23, 2012)
__________ “How I Teach”, (accessed October 23, 2012)
__________ “Protection Under Authority”, (accessed October 23, 2012)
Rapidnet, “Bill Gothard General Teachings/Activities”, (accessed October 23, 2012)
Stanton, Glenn T., Fact Checker: Divorce Rate Among Christians. The Gospel Coalition, (accessed Sept. 25, 2012)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



Recently I presented a paper in my DMin class on what the Bible teaches about order in the marriage partnership.  This paper sought to define terms, exposit pertinent scriptures, and provide practical application. It also sought to make the reader aware of how some well intended Christian teachers have complicated the issue.  Thus, in a hopes that what I have found and written will benefit you,I am presenting this paper over the next several posts.  Should you have questions or comments, you may send them to
Bill Gothard and Marriage
            Widely popular among churches for many decades has been the teaching of Bill Gothard.  Because of the popularity and absorption of his teaching into the culture of many churches, an introductory mention is needed.[i]  Gothard, a lifelong bachelor, who began teaching his principles in the early sixties, reached massive numbers of people in his seminars of the seventies, and still draws crowds in excess of three thousand today.  He teaches on a wide variety of subjects, often in minute details.  It is his principles of order in the home that we pause to consider here.
            Gothard believes there are biblical principles that, when applied by either Christian or non-Christian, lead to success in life.[ii]  His seven principles for success are based upon character and virtue as illustrated in forty nine qualities that he has identified in the gospels.[iii]  He adamantly denies the label of legalism; however he asserts that these are “non-optional biblical principles of life.”[iv]  Much of Gothard’s teachings are based upon the keeping of lists and rules. 
            Therefore, Gothard bases many of his teachings on a cause and effect relationship.  Much is said about authority of leaders: wives to husbands, and children to parents.[v] He strongly tells a youth that his happiness is dependent upon his parent’s approval of a marriage partner, even when the parents are not living under the authority of God.[vi]  Thus, his teaching is much like the Pharisees as it dictates the keeping of rules beyond the scriptures as a means of status, success, and spirituality.
            The dictates of his teachings detail the way a woman ought to dress, decorate the home, and live under authority.[vii]  Little is ever said about relying upon the Holy Spirit.[viii]  Being submissive is to unquestionably obey those who are superior to you.[ix]  In 1983 Gothard began teaching sexual regulations for a husband and wife in his Advanced Seminars.[x]  In many cases, he advocated abstinence for married couples, against 1 Corinthians 7:5.  This becomes quite problematic, especially for women.  According to the logical reasoning applied to his teaching, a woman is constrained to forever be under her parents’ rule, to marry the man of her father’s blessing, and to remain under her husband’s authority.[xi]  Little is said about grace, unity, love, and living to glorify God.  Much is said about outward behavior; little hope is given for the change that is accomplished through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. For Gothard, to obey her husband, or father, is her duty to God’s glorification.  To disobey God is to invite wrathful consequences upon herself and her descendants.[xii]
            Obviously this is a hindrance to order in the marriage.  The woman is no longer a suitable helper, but an underling.  Gothard’s teachings prescribe a fearful end to anyone who does not live under the rule of her leaders.  Scripture is often manipulated to reflect his religious order views.  This brings forth a wrong view of grace, forgiveness, repentance, submission, authority, and even love. Ultimately, the gospel is made a man centric prescription of works.

[i] Fisher, G. Richard. A Study in Evolving Fadism The Dangerous Leanings of Bill Gothard’s Teachings. Personal Freedom Outreach. ( (Accessed October 20, 2012)  (2/12) Gothard often advocates having ‘an inner peace” as a means of discerning scripture.  This however is quite subjective.  Yet, because a leader is in authority, to question a decision is said to bring serious godly repercussions.
[ii] (2/5) “Personal guilt is one of the most damaging factors there is to our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.  Therefore, scripture instructs us to gain and maintain a good conscience toward God and others.”
[iii] (4/5)
[iv] (1/5) “The basic principal is that true happiness does not come from outward appearance of physical circumstances, but from the development of inward character, such as gratefulness, patience, compassion, and joyfulness.”
[v] (1/4) “Under each umbrella of protection, God sets in place the leadership of His choice, just as He placed Moses in leadership under the ‘umbrella’ over Israel.  So, under each umbrella of protection, God raises up and establishes the human leadership to represent Him before the people.” This becomes very problematic for a marriage relationship.  The husband, by this line of reasoning, is the unquestionable authority of the entire home.  The wife is falsely taught that she is out of God’s will and faces repercussions for violating her husbands wishes.
[vi] (3/4)  “There are serious consequences for any son or daughter who gets out from under this protection.”
[vii] Fisher, G. Richard. A Study in Evolving Fadism The Dangerous Leanings of Bill Gothard’s Teachings. Personal Freedom Outreach. ( (Accessed October 20, 2012)  (8/12)
[viii] Beard, J. Bill Gothard general teachings/Activities. (accessed October 20, 2012. (5/26)  Gothard teaches much Freudian psychology, birth order influences, receiving “a word from the Lord,” and self image as an entire principle in the acceptance of the self.
[ix] (1/5) “People, especially teenagers, don’t like to hear about rules.  However, when they understand the underlying principles of life, they will often make rules or guidelines for themselves to ensure that they do not experience the consequences of violating principals.”  Thus Gothard endorses behavior modification akin to a Pavlovian dog, rather than a loving relationship of grace and sanctification unto God.
[x] Fisher, G. Richard. A Study in Evolving Fadism The Dangerous Leanings of Bill Gothard’s Teachings. Personal Freedom Outreach. ( (Accessed October 20, 2012)  (6/12)
[xi] Gothard, Bill. What is Courtship. (accessed Nov 7, 2012)  (2/4)  “God has entrusted to the parents, and especially the father, the responsibility to give the daughter in marriage.”
[xii] Fisher, G. Richard. A Study in Evolving Fadism The Dangerous Leanings of Bill Gothard’s Teachings. Personal Freedom Outreach. ( (Accessed October 20, 2012)  (3/12)

Monday, January 28, 2013



Recently I presented a paper in my DMin class on what the Bible teaches about order in the marriage partnership.  This paper sought to define terms, exposit pertinent scriptures, and provide practical application. It also sought to make the reader aware of how some well intended Christian teachers have complicated the issue.  Thus, in a hopes that what I have found and written will benefit you,I am presenting this paper over the next several posts.  Should you have questions or comments, you may send them to

Fulfilling one’s role is imperative.  Never is compromise accepted in the marriage roles, as is often suggested by books such as The Five Love Languages, His Needs Her Needs, or Love and Respect.  These books all suggest that when one party gives the other should give also.  This teaching curtails the responsibility mandated unto God to love the spouse, and instead suggests that to get affection a husband must first barter for the other’s involvement by respect, kindnesses, or appealing to her felt needs and desires.  Scripturally, we are to love our spouses as in obedience and love unto God.  “Just as Christ loved the church” emphasizes that we once were distant sinners who rebelled and operated in our own flesh, without a love for Christ.  Yet, Christ still gave Himself up for his bride, the church, in order to provide sanctification, cleansing her with the washing of the word, in order to make her presentable, holy, blameless.  Husbands and wives are to understand cures for marriage from this admonition, not out of self-preservation or in the manipulation of a supposed hierarchy of needs.

            This Ephesians passage finds the commands for the wife being summed up in submitting and respecting her husband.  These are neither conditional nor optional.  Her obedience is ultimately unto the Lord, not just her husband. 

            The idea of submission is not to be carried to the extremes of being a doormat for abuse or a permission to sin if directed by her mate.  Wisdom and logic, especially paired with the other doctrines of scripture, are to be applied at all times to the context of submission.  Misinterpretations of this directive have been used by husbands to abuse or misinterpret the role of his wife. This aspect is further explored in the section on Bill Gothard.  Some wives have endured years of verbal, physical, and spiritual abuse all the while fearing that something worse may happen if they disobey God by “non-submission.” This perspective has affected feminism and has been in need of clarification, as seen in the Baptist Faith and Message of 2000.  Husbands need to be aware that this scripture never advocates his “kingship of the home,” but rather how he is to lovingly serve his wife.  It puts the husband in the envious position of being the exclusive love attraction to his mate, other than Christ, rather than the fleshly lull of worldly substitutes.

            For the husband, litanies of objectives are outlined for his ongoing duty.  These too are neither optional nor conditional.  They include loving as Christ loves the church, moving toward the goal of her purification and beautification through the word that she be holy and blameless.  He is to nourish and cherish his wife, as a fellow member of his own body.  His inspiration is taken from the Genesis passage in chapter 2 verse 24, aspiring to the glory of the pre-fall condition.  He must therefore be mindful that sin has not relinquished him from duties nor objectives for the marriage to be a union that exists unto the glory of God.  Rather, the conditions of his present state and the promises of God ought to provide fervor in actively loving his wife.

            Both lists of objectives for husband and wife give the couple a truer definition as to what it means to love one’s spouse, cleaving to each other and becoming one flesh.  It is an active pursuit, for the betterment of each other, and a cleansing from sin, that seeks to attain the glorious pre-fall fellowship between each other and God Himself.

1 Peter 3: 1-12 is a great paraclete to Ephesians 5.  Again it begins with a discussion of wives submitting to their husbands.  Here, Peter addresses the issue of whether or not a wife should submit to a husband who, is at least, not fulfilling his role or, at worse, is perhaps an unbeliever.  It is the behavior of the wife, in submission, that sets her apart from the rest of the women of the world.  This submissive aspect of the woman is done out of love for the Savior, following His example, and therefore the glory of God is demonstrated in the life of a believer.   1 Peter chapter 3 sets the context for submission as exemplified in Christ.  The axiom of imitating Christ in all things is abundant in the marriage relationship.  There is more at stake than the happiness of the wife.  The person of Christ is illustrated in the consistency and character of the believer, thus affecting her spirit, her husband, and the witness to her mission field.

The wife is to complete her ministry unto her husband by submitting, in the hopes that he will see her behavior and be won over should he not be a Christian.  In the context of the Greco-Roman period, the actions of such a wife would surely make her a standout among all others.[i]  Further, her adornment is to be not merely outward, but more so from the inward person of who she really is.  Sarah, Abraham’s wife, is cited as a godly example to emulate.  

The husband is commanded to live in an understanding way, and to consider his wife a weaker vessel.  To be understanding, the Greek word, gnosis, presents an admonition to have practical wisdom in how to effectively love one’s wife.   It carries with it the position that there must be an ongoing update as to her current situations and being.  Therefore, the husband needs to consistently relate to his wife to know her heart.

It must be understood that the husband, as Adam did, is to consider his wife as not inferior, but fulfilling the role of a suitable helper.   The Greek word, asthenes, is used here.  It means a weakness such as “the flesh is weak.”  This would translate as lacking power.  The husband in turn enables his wife to complete her role.  This again becomes a symbiotic relationship; each benefits the other.  The consummation of marriage in this order is synergistic and fulfills the doctrine intended for the two becoming one flesh.

Along with the idea of the wife being a weaker vessel, the husband thus is to show her honor by considering her a fellow heir.(vs 7)  This again demonstrates that the wife is neither to be ruled over, nor be a doormat, but a partner that completes a union of two fleshes.  This order is crucial; for when the husband honors his wife, his prayers remove potential hindrances.          A strong spiritual practicality is paired with loving one’s wife when the husband takes care to maintain such order in the marriage.

Peter then ties together in verses 8-12 an overview of how a husband and wife are to conduct the order of marriage biblically.

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, "THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. "HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. "FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL." (1Pe 3:8-12)


Peter is not only concerned with the heart but the practical application.  Each of these relational matters finds its victory in relying upon the Lord as it says; “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,” and “His ears attend their prayers.”  This summation is not simply a new teaching from Peter, but a reminder of God’s word as spoken in Psalm 34. 

[i] Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 2nd ed. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids. 1993.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Books I am About to Begin Reading

Just as a point of interest, I thought I would share a few of the titles on my, "Read within the next Six Weeks," project.  Each one of these titles came to mind as I was in a week long class for Biblical counseling. 

Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp 
Why I am reading it: I am hoping to use its wisdom to grow and help others in enduring ministry as a faithful shepherd.

Gospel Treason, Betraying the Gospel with Hidden Idols, by Brad Bigney.
Why I am reading it: Because we must be ever vigilent against false idols and compromises to our faith.

Christ -Centered Biblical Theology, Graeme Goldsworthy
Why I am Reading It: Not only must we guard against idols, we need to keep what we have centered on Christ.

Seeing With New Eyes, David Powlison
Why I am reading it:  To better grasp hos scripture applies to each and everyo one of us.
Finding Your Child's Way on the Autism Spectrum, Laura Hendrickson
Why I am reading it:  One of seventy male children are now being diagnosed with Autism.  I have family and friends who are autistic. Autism affects not only the child but the whole community.  By understanding Autism we can minster in a much more loving and cooperative way.
Not Under Bondage, Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery, & Desertion Barbara Roberts
Why I am reading it:  Divorce is one of the most prevelent crisis in society and the church.  It need to be understood from a scriptural standpoint.
Divorce and Remarriage in the Church, David Instone-Brewer
Why I am reading it:  This book has been said to be the best in examining the scrptures on divorce.
At the Alter of Sexual Idolatry, Steve Gallagher
Closing the Window, Steps to Living Porn Free, Tim Chester
Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God, C J Mahaney
Why an I reading these:  With internet porn as the dominate use of the internet, the present and future hold a critical need to help men, and women too, in the battle for purity of the heart and mind.




Recently I presented a paper in my DMin class on what the Bible teaches about order in the marriage partnership.  This paper sought to define terms, exposit pertinent scriptures, and provide practical application. It also sought to make the reader aware of how some well intended Christian teachers have complicated the issue.  Thus, in a hopes that what I have found and written will benefit you,I am presenting this paper over the next several posts.  Should you have questions or comments, you may send them to

When it comes to defining the model wife, no scripture is more cited than Proverbs 31.  King Lemuel begins by describing an excellent wife.  The Hebrew word for excellence, hayil, carries the idea of strength and influence.  Throughout the chapter the King describes various aspects of a wife who is to be a treasure. This must be understood in the context that many women in that day were treated as chattel.  Yet within the culture of the people of God, a partner wife was greatly desired.  Here we hear the praises of one who fulfills the role of managing the home.

            This passage is a wonderful acrostic.  The woman has many facets of character.  Yet, it should not be expected that this is some type of super woman.  However, with character and a respect for her mate being central, we do see several virtues that run the course of her life.  The excellent wife is trusted by her husband; enjoys working with the needs of her family; and is diligent in caring for the needs of her home and children; she is wise with money in her considerations and purchases; she exhibits strength and dignity as she looks to the future and not the mere moment; and she fears the Lord.  Her husband is seen in the center of this passage.  It is here we find that he is regarded in the city gate, which is the place of respect.  His success is largely based upon the person of his mate.

Matthew 19:14-16 gives us many further insights as to God’s ordered intention for marriage.  This passage illustrates the mind of God regarding marriage and divorce.  The doctrine of a marriage being one flesh is bound in the idea of marital covenant.  God has joined people in this covenant as it brings Him glory.  To rend asunder a marriage is possible, but it goes against the intent of God.  Malachi emphasizes this truth when he writes “I hate divorce.” 

             “Marriage is not an indissoluble, mystical union; it is a covenant that, tragically, can, but ought not to be, violated.”[i]  Divorce is so vile to the covenant bond it is proportionate to the idea of tearing flesh apart. 

            The apostle Paul addresses sexual oneness in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9.  It is taught here that sex is to be a healthy component of love and protection. It is understood that sexual union maintains the bonds of unity and aids in overcoming temptation.  Each partner, in God honoring sex, gives of oneself to the other.

            No look at biblical marriage should ever overlook Ephesians 5.  The framework of the chapter begins with an admonition to be imitators of God.  It further forbids immorality, and instructs how one is to walk in the light of Christ.  The nature of Christians is to so abide in Christ and abstain from the world, that they naturally greet one another with “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”   It is in this context that advice is given on marriage, beginning with; “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”(Eph 5:22)

            As discussed above, the idea of a woman being subject to her own husband is often a point of dismissal for those who oppose the Bible.  Yet in the truth of God’s design for marital order, this being subject to, is a redemptive and protective design.  Verse 32 of the chapter clarifies how this is an illustration of Christ loving the church, and therefore the submission of the wife is provided not only application but validation. The order of the wife and husband’s relationship is consummate to the church abiding in Christ.  When the church abides it is nurtured and flourishes.  Without this abiding it can never bear fruit.  Therefore wives, in submission to husbands, will naturally benefit from this ordered relationship.  Husbands, as seen in verses 28 and 29, likewise will damage himself significantly if he does not love his mate, and vice versa.  Stated in another way, for a husband to not provide the love commanded unto his wife is to harm both parties of the marriage directly.  Given enough time, this lack of love axiom explains the atrophy that so many marriages suffer when either party fails at the ordered role.

[i] Ibid, 59.