Saturday, May 7, 2016
Ephesians and the Body of Christ
After reading some of my posts by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Ephesians, one of my readers, “Jim in Australia,” emailed me this interesting observation (he gave me permission to use it):
One of the themes in Ephesians is the “Body of Christ” with 8 references:
Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:16; Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:30
In the NKJV and others they take the liberty of feminising certain verses like Ch 5: 25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
The KJV does not feminise the verse and I don’t think “she and her” are in the original…here’s my point…(brackets are my thoughts)
If you take the theme of “the body” and apply to this passage in relation to the church and the example of a husband and wife, you could put it this way.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (His body) 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it (His body) the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it (His body) himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it (His body) be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.(His body) 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; (His body) but nourisheth and cherisheth it,(His body) even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (One body) 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; (His body) the wife see that she reverence her husband.
I thought Jim’s observation was great and more reflective of the theme of Ephesians, but I also find no fault with the “feminizing” of the modern translations, my reason given to Jim as follows:
"It" vs "her" ("she") is what the Greek says in any manuscript that I can find. However, I don't have a problem with "feminizing" it for the point the passage is making. The Church is the bride of Christ, so using the pronoun "her" for the bride is fine. Throughout the O.T. Israel is seen as the wife of God. The analogies in both [Old and New Testaments] are apt, in that the comparisons are to human relationships and how marriages should operate with the husband's particular care of the wife.