A Biblical View of Authority – Part 2: The Relationship of Husband and Wife

Speaker: Scott Jarrett | Jun 17, 2018

Since God is the rightful Owner of all things (being their Creator), He, therefore, is creation’s rightful Ruler or Authority. The maxim that undergirds or gives support to this truth is, “ownership establishes authority”. In other words, I have the right to do what I want with what I own. In terms of governing, this means that God legitimately possesses the right to govern us (i.e. exercise control over our lives) through giving orders, making decisions, changing plans, establishing rules and enforcing His will. In addition, God’s authority includes the right to appoint other persons to function as His governing representatives. As such, these “deputy rulers” possess real (or legitimate) authority that is not dependent on their character or competency, but rather their appointment by God. Unique[1] among those authorities appointed by God, is the husband.

1. There are two things that make the husband’s authority (in relation to his wife) unique:

1.1. His authority stems not only from divine proxy (deputation, appointment) but also personal ownership:

1.1.1.  The Hebrew term for husband (בַּ֫עַל; ba’al] and it’s Greek equivalent (κύριος; kurios) can also be translated as “owner” or “lord/master”, referring to persons whose authority is due to ownership (e.g. Pro 31:23 – “husband”[ בַּ֫עַל] w/Exo 21:28 – “owner” [בַּ֫עַל]; also Isa 1:3 –“owner” [קֹנֵ֔ה] = Lit. the purchasing one; “master” [בַּ֫עַל] based on ownership; Gal 4:1 = Paul’s argument [when an heir is a child, he exists in an ironic state from an authority perspective] only makes sense if what he means by “owner” [κύριος] is the antithesis [the direct/perfect opposite] of “slave” – i.e. the authority/lord/master [see KJV]).

1.1.2. God’s prohibition against coveting makes it clear that this is indeed what is to be understood in relation to the husband; his wife and children (i.e. his household) are his personal property (Exo 20:17; Deu 5:21; see also Exo 22:16-17; Deu 22:28-29; e.g. Gen 34:1-12; hence why Paul’s instruction is directed toward the father – 1Co 7:36-37).

1.1.3. Etymological studies reveal the term (“husband”) to be a derivation of the ancient term, “householder”, meaning owner of the household.

1.2. His authority symbolizes Christ’s authority in relation to His church (Eph 5:22-25).

2. The unique nature of the husband’s authority (as owner and a type of Christ) establishes unique expectations for his wife:

2.1. Because the husband is the owner of his household, it is husband’s vision and agenda for the household, that is to be realized, not the wife (e.g. Jos 24:15; 1Ti 3:15 – “God’s household” = B/C He [Christ] is the husband/householder it is Him that defines/determines the vision of the church [e.g. her liturgy/worship, etc.] – not us, or the world, or what marketing research tells us “works”).

2.2. The wife’s designation as “helper” directly correlates to her identity as the personal property of her husband. Like all personal property, her purpose is to help increase the value (or glory) of her husband through the advancement of his name, his household and his agenda (Gen 2:18 w/23 – “Woman” = “out of man” w/Eph 5:23 – “his body” = the glory of his person on earth – 2Co 8:23; 1Co 15:40; 1Co 11:7-9; Pro 14:1; also Pro 31:10-12, 23 w/27-31 = her “praise”/value to her husband is found in the praise/value she brings to her husband “in the gates” – i.e. his reputation/status w/in the community).

2.3. The wife’s value before God is determined by her respectful submission[2]  to her husband’s authority in regard to all things not sinful. This is especially true when his leadership is disobedient/harsh/impatient (1Pe 3:1-5 w/7 – “understanding way, showing honor to her as the weaker vessel” = showing her patience due to her emotional frailty).

2.4. Because the husband represents Christ, the wife’s salvation is also determined by her respectful submission (Re: salvation: 1Pe 3:6 = Abe/Sarah proverbial parents of the saved – Heb 2:16; 1Ti 2:15 = salvation thru fulfillment of her ordained role; Re: respectful submission: Eph 5:22-24, 33; 1Pe 3:1-2; Col 3:18 – “as is fitting to the Lord” = no submission to sinful things).

2.5. The wife’s faithfulness to her husband in the ways discussed, is what she is to teach other women and her children as the means to exemplifying and advancing Christ’s name, household and gospel agenda (Tit 2:3-5; in respect to the children, they are the “fruit of her womb” – i.e. their respectful submission wb determined by her example in the home – think, Mat 7:13-14).


[1] By “unique” what is meant is different. In this case, from those other offices of authority appointed by God. This word will retain this as its meaning through its various uses in this document.

[2] Respectful submission = 1) obedience that does not possess/obedience that is incompatible w/: anger (expressing irritation; Eph 4:26; Jam 1:19-25), malice (desiring to do their harm; 1Pe 1:22-2:1), contempt (despising their authority; Psa 119:21, 85; Isa 3:5; Rom 1:30), cynicism (distrusting their motives; 1Ti 6:4), skepticism (distrusting their competency; 1Co 4:1-6), captiousness (looking for fault, to be critical or petty; Jud 1:6), contentiousness (looking to fight; Pro 21:9, 25:24), dismissiveness (acting as though they are unworthy, Est 1:10-18 w/1Sa 2:17 = contempt accompanies obedience when only part of what is commanded is done; e.g. 1Sa 1Sa 15:1-11), condescension (acting as though they are inferior to you; Psa 18:27; Isa 3:16; Zep 3:11; Rom 1:30) or self-pity (acting like a martyr or whining; Phi 2:14 w/Exo 16:1-3; e.g. Mal 1:13); 2) obedience that includes careful listening – Num 20:4-12 w/27:12-14).