A couple years ago, I picked up a New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible from Half Price Books.  I had been wanting one for a while, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money on it.  Every time I was at a resale book store, I’d look for it.  Finally, I caved and bought it for $20 or $30.  I’m glad I did.  I like the NLT for my personal reading time, and the study notes are interesting, and have helped me more than once when it came to sermon preparation.  However, there was something… different… about this particular Bible.  There was one passage underlined.  In all of the book, there was no other place where a passage was underlined, but one part from today’s reading.  Here it is.

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church.  He is the Savior of his body, the church.  As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything (Ephesians 5:21-24).

Yep.  That’s it.  That’s the passage that is underlined.  66 books of Scripture.  1187 different chapters.  And that’s the only part of the entire Bible that is marked.

I don’t know the whole story, but I’ve certainly imagined a scenario in my mind.  This guy originally bought this particular Bible because he had – what he would call – a stubborn wife who didn’t do what he wanted to do.  So, he decides to get a Bible that will back him up.  He ends up finding Ephesians 5:21-24, underlines it, and shows it to his wife, saying, “See, I told you.”  After she stopped laughing, he decided that the whole endeavor was pointless, so he takes the Bible to Half Price Books… where they give him $3 and sell it for much more.  It was a bad day for this guy in my imagination.

See, the problem is that he underlined the passage, but he didn’t understand it.  In order for the wife to submit to the husband, as the church submits to Christ, something needs to happen.  There needs to be a serious change in heart.  The submission of a wife is not predicated on it “being in the Bible” but on the love that Christ has for the church, and the churches submission to Christ.  Which came first?  The church was not told to submit to Christ, and then Christ would love the church.  Christ loved the church, and in response to that love, the church submits to Christ.

Husbands – are you loving your wives in the same way that Christ loved the church?  Are you willing to lay down your life for her?  Are you willing to do whatever it takes to show your love?

Wives – do your husbands love you like this?  How are you going to live in response to this love?

It doesn’t mean that the man is the head of the household and his way goes… because that’s not love.  Love between two people is about communication and compromise.  The wife’s submission begins with the husband’s unconditional, unrelenting love.

I hope things worked out for the previous owner of my study Bible.  I hope that the love of Christ invaded his life and filled him to the point that he began to understand what it means to truly love his wife.