Search for “Discipleship” at Amazon.com and you’ll find 11,000+ results. A lot of ink has been spilled on this topic. Rightly so too because Christ said before ascending to heaven to teach all nations to obey everything he said (Matthew 28:18-20).
I’m sure many of you have been discipled by someone or have discipled someone else yourself. You may have read a book together or through the entire bible and even had some discussion questions.
We do this intentionally. We do this fervently because Jesus said to teach them everything.
But, husbands, do we do this with out wives? I want to argue that part of our role as leaders in our home is to disciple our wives. Listen to the Apostle Paul,
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Let’s take a quick look at the flow of his argument. Paul says over and over again, stubbornly so, “husbands love your wives.” We see this command to love six times.
Paul also contrasts Christ’s work on behalf of his bride the church with what is expected of husbands. On a quick side, this alone should set the tone for any discussion of gender roles within the home.
Paul commends Christ’s sanctifying and cleansing work in the lives of his people. How does Paul tell us this occurs? “By the washing of water with the word.” We could unpack that entire phrase for all it’s worth but I want to focus on the last phrase with the word. Primarily Jesus accomplishes his work in our lives through his word and “in the same way” husbands should love their wives and sanctify them by cleansing them with the word.
Again he furthers the analogy when he says “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.” The image is of someone who is taking care of their body’s most basic needs. These two images collide. We are to cleanse with the word and nourish. I would ask how does this happen? Could the answer be anything else but with the word?
It’s is then one of the husbands primary responsibilities to disciple his wife. You should be reading Scripture together. You should be feeding and nourishing her from the word. You should be discussing the meaning of the word.
The word of God should be central to the covenant relationship of husbands and wives. It’s when this primary responsibility is consistently and lovingly employed that loving your wife in all other areas comes into focus. If all of Scripture is about the one Hero who rescued his bride from the terrible dragon, then how better to learn how we should treat our bride then by reading through the one story together?