- What is a “Help Meet”? – The Hebrew word for “help meet” is (‘ezer:H5828) in Gen 2:18 and 20: “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet (‘ezer) for him…”, “… but for Adam there was not found an help meet (‘ezer) for him”. It is significant that this word “‘ezer” in most cases identifies with God as our “help”, as we see in Psa 124:8, “Our help (‘ezer) is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth”. But let’s not forget that it was God who “… made… a woman, and brought her unto the man…”. It was God – not Adam – who recognized that man needed a “help meet” (Gen 2:18); then God fulfilled that need in a most wonderful way, which shows that He indeed is mankind’s greatest Help. But what is the Gospel, or spiritual, meaning in this beautiful account? God also likens the union of a husband and wife to the mysterious union between Christ and His Bride, the eternal church, in Eph 5:31-32. As we discuss the roles of both husbands and wives, we must never lose sight of this wonderful spiritual dimension. Adam represents the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is called the “last Adam” in 1 Cor 15:45. He is given a Bride (typified by Eve) comprising all true believers (John 6:37, John 17:24), and God the Father brought her to Christ.
Gen 2:20-23 “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Eph 5:31-33 “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. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Rev 21:2 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem [the eternal church], coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband [Jesus].”
- The Wife see that she Reverence her Husband and Submit Herself – The Greek word translated “reverence” (phobeo:G5399) in Eph 5:33, is the word generally rendered in English as “fear”, “be afraid of”. We find a similar passage in Col 3:17-22, and we discover this same word translated as “fearing” in verse 22: “… not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing (phobeo:G5399) God:” and notice how each representative group of individuals is to follow certain commands, such as “… wives submit …”; “… husbands love …”; “… children obey …”; “… fathers provoke not …”; “… servants obey …”. 1 Pet 2:13 reminds us: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake …” and Rom 13:1: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”. Rom 8:7 explains the warfare that exists between the unsaved person and God, and it underscores man’s inherent inability to be under, or obedient to, God’s Word prior to salvation : “So then they that are in the flesh [unsaved] cannot please God. Because the carnal [unsaved] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”. On the other hand, Col 3:23 gives a very practical and important command – to think, speak, and act with the goal of glorifying his Savior and Master, which really underscores the true character of one who has become a child of God: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”. In Luke 2:51 we find the example of the Lord Himself, as a boy, Who subjected Himself to His parents’ authority. A similar emphasis appears in Eph 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord;” and verse 24 adds that wives are to subject to their husbands “in every thing”. We find a similar statement expressed as “all things” in Col 3:20: “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord”, “Servants, obey in all things your masters”. This denotes a sincere willingness of a wife to place herself under the complete authority of her husband (unless of course he violates the Scriptures) as she would to Christ Himself. Such an attitude is both acknowledged and demonstrated by Sara as seen in 1 Pet 3:6, “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord…”. The Greek word for “submit yourselves” (hupotasso:G5293) in Eph 5:22 is also found in Tit 2:5 (which spells out the characteristics of a Christian wife) is rendered as “obedient”: “… obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed”. We learn the reason why a wife is to be subject or obedient to her husband, in Eph 5:23: “… 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”. 1 Cor 11:3 further asserts this reality by a three-fold description: “… the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God”. The wife is to submit, or be subject to, her husband as “unto the Lord”; and her husband, in turn, is to love her as Christ loves the eternal church, as Eph 5:25 so clearly testifies. Naturally, it is much easier for the wife to submit to a husband when he demonstrates this type of sacrificial love for his wife. Nevertheless, if this is not the case, the wife is still to submit to her husband “as unto the Lord”.
Col 3:17-22 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing (phobeo:G5399) God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
Eph 5:21-24 “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For 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. 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
- Chaste Conversation (Conduct) of a Wife can Win an Unsaved Husband – The context of the verse 1 Pet 3:1 discusses an all too frequent scenario in which the wife is saved, and the husband is not. This is evident from the language, “… if any obey not the word …”. Wonderfully, God can turn this situation around in that He is able to bestow His salvation upon the unbelieving husband by using the “conversation” of his wife as a “silent” witness (which is the meaning of “… without the word …”) as opposed to her “preaching” verbally to her husband. “Conversation” is actually referring to one’s conduct, or behavior; and God uses two other words here – “chaste” and “fear”. This word “chaste” (or “pure”) is also found in Tit 2:5: “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed”. In 1 Pet 3:3-4 we read wives not to adorn with ornaments but with “… the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price”. One has to be careful to not take this verse “… not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel” at “face value”. If one were to follow the verse literally, wives would be forced to be barely put together. Obviously, this is not what is in view! Here God is highlighting the difference between that which is “outward” and that which is “hidden” (or “inward”), or the “hidden man of the heart”, which has to do with salvation and is also known as “a meek and quiet spirit”. The word “outward” is also used in Mat 23:27 where the Savior is highlighting the importance of one’s spiritual priorities in this penetrating verse: “ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness”. What good is it to be physically well kept, attractive, and healthy, and yet be spiritually sick (unsaved) and destined for eternal damnation. A believing wife’s “world” (as well as that of her husband’s) should be focused on advancing the Kingdom of God, and not become “captivated” by “… the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life …”. Lot’s wife comes to mind as an example of one whose heart was still anchored in Satan’s kingdom as she violated God’s command to not “look back”. Luke 17:32 ominously warns, “Remember Lot’s wife”.
1 Pet 3:1-6 “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives 2While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
- Please Her Husband… Not to Usurp Authority over the Man – 1 Cor 7:34 reveals: “… she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband”. At first glance the phrase “… careth for the things of the world …” would seem to contradict what I was just speaking about until we consider the phrase “… how she may please her husband”. Remember, earlier in this study we read this in Eph 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord”. In her role as wife she is to “model” the command of Tit 2:4-5: “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed”. Let’s keep in mind the very reason that God formed women in the first place is to be a “help meet” according to Gen 2:18 (as we discussed in the first lesson in this study), “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him”. 1 Tim 2:11 also instructs, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection”. God explains why in 1 Tim 2:12-14: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”. Unfortunately in our day we see this command violated with impunity all over the world. Bear in mind that the spiritual analogy of the woman learning in silence from her husband is a picture of the Church learning from her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of the Scriptures to them by comparing “spiritual things with spiritual” (John 16:13-15).
1 Cor 7:34 “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”
1 Cor 14:34-35 “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
1 Tim 2:12-14 “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
- Saved in Child-Bearing… Professing Godliness with Good Works – 1 Tim 2:15 asserts, “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety”. Is this verse somehow teaching that child-bearing is a decisive factor in salvation? The answer is yes. However, it is not referring to one’s own progeny, but rather to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Gal 4:4-5 highlights: “… God sent forth his Son, made of a woman …”. In 1 Tim 2:9-10 we find the admonishment that “women adorn themselves” with “good works”. 1 Tim 5:10 addresses the conduct of believing women whose husbands have died and their “good works”. Acts 9:36 gives us an example of godly “disciple named Tabitha”: “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did”. Suffice it to say, these citations are not merely applicable to women, but are the duty of all believers whether it be man or woman, as the following verses so beautifully illustrate: “For we [believers] are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10); “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10); “Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Heb 13:21). This study is to remind those of you who are blessed to be wives to serve your husbands in such a God-glorifying manner. Furthermore, it is an admonition for all of us – “Bride of Christ” – who have been blessed with salvation to recognize that we are simply servants as we serve the King of kings – our husband “Christ” to whom we owe all fear, all obedience, and all loyalty.
1 Tim 2:11-15 “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
Gal 4:4-5 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
1 Cor 11:12 “For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.”
1 Tim 2:9-10 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works”.
1 Tim 5:10 “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.