The Church Compared to a Wife

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It’s an easy task to teach wives how to emulate the bride of Christ, the church, in submission, love for the head, and sanctification. It is certainly appropriate that husbands look to the perfect standard, Jesus Christ, to learn to love their wives. To compare our human marriage relationships to the perfectly prescribed pattern of Christ and the church, so that we might attain to perfection in this human relationship is sound doctrine. It’s the doctrine that the Holy Spirit gave in Ephesians five and Colossians three.

There is a spiritual sense, though, in which we, as Christians, are married to Christ. Romans 7:4 declared to the former Jews, that while they had been married to the law, they were now dead to it, so they could be married to another, even to “Him who had been raised from the dead.”  There is also an adultery mentioned in James 4:4 that is obviously spiritual adultery, thus indicating that there is a spiritual marriage that occurs when we become Christians. 


Though the purpose of Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3 is to teach us how to fulfill our roles in the marriage relationship, I believe we can study any number of marriages in scripture and draw truths that are helpful in understanding the marriage of Christ and his church. For instance, Sarah’s submission to Abraham (I Pet.3: 6) parallels our subjection to Christ. Ruth’s rescue by Boaz (Ruth 4) mirrors our rescue from the poverty of sin. Rahab’s marriage into the family of Salmon and thus her entrance into Israel is typical of our journey out of sin and into the family of God; our justification by faith and works (James 2:25). But as I study the relationship of Christ and the church, I am stricken with the amazing parallels that can be drawn from the romantic story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24.

Isaac and Christ

As a preface, notice several ways in which Isaac may represent our Savior. First, both Isaac and Christ were born into the world by supernatural means (Gen. 18:9-12; Luke 1:30-35) Second, both Isaac and Christ were about their fathers’ business (Gen.22:6: Luke 2:49). Third, both were offered by their fathers as sacrificial lambs (Gen. 22:6; I Pet. 1:19). Notice here that Isaac was offered in the mind of Abraham just as Christ was offered to bear the sins of many (Heb. 11:17; Heb. 9:28). It is interesting also that both Isaac and Christ carried the wood for the sacrifice (Gen.22:6; John 19:17). Finally, God raised both Isaac and Christ. Isaac was raised three days after he was offered in the mind of Abraham (Gen.22:4), thus being a type of Christ in His third day resurrection (Luke 18:33; Acts 10:40).

All of these events occurred in Isaac’s life prior to his marriage to Rebekah, just as the antitypes preceded Christ’s establishment of His church.

Next time: Rebekah and the Church

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