Wives Must Submit to Their Husbands?
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
My wife and I have slightly different memories of an event that happened a few months before we were married. While engaged, we lived several hundred miles apart and back then, we still used snail mail. I read something by some Christian author, which I wanted to share with her, so I photocopied and mailed it. She remembers me saying, “You need to read this”. I don’t think I said those words, but they were implied. The article critiqued some things that I thought she needed to work on, and I wanted to gently share that with her. So, whether I said these words explicitly or not, the message was, “You’ve got some problems and you need to read this”. It didn’t go as I’d hoped.
I often do this when I read something convicting in the Bible. When I read a passage about Christian hypocrisy and pride, I instantly think of several people I know who need to read those verses and take them to heart (When they read the same passage, they probably think of me). The problem is that I naturally point God’s commands at others, while ignoring them myself. You need to read this.
Today’s passage is one that has often been used this way, particularly by men, because it’s addressed to women. Yes, Paul actually said that wives must submit to their husbands. I have no desire to try to defend Paul’s words here. One can make an excellent case that this is a culturally relevant command that doesn’t stand the test of time. There is precedence for dismissing other commands of Paul as culturally irrelevant (1 Corinthians 11:2-16). So, my purpose in this blog isn’t to tell wives that they must submit to their husbands. My purpose in today’s blog is to point out how we often misuse certain passages to try and control or change others.
Most of us are quite gifted when it comes to recognizing the flaws of those around us. So, when we read the Bible, we naturally see how it applies to everyone else. The Bible says you must do this! Reading God’s word though, should always prompt introspection. What does this passage say and what does that mean for my life? What does God want me to do differently? How do I need to change?
Our daily time with God should be about our relationship with him. If we read the Bible and point it at others, we’re missing the point. Faith is about understanding God’s word and applying it to our own lives. It’s not about using it to control others, making them behave as we want.