Amplified: This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: The marriage relationship is doubtless a great mystery, but I am speaking of something deeper still - the marriage of Christ and his Church. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: This mystery is great. However, I am speaking with regard to Christ and the Church. (Eerdmans) this secret is great, and I speak in regard to Christ and to the assembly;
THIS MYSTERY IS GREAT: to musterion touto mega estin, (3SPAI): (Eph 6:19; Col 2:2; 1Ti 3:8,16)
This mystery is great - As a wife is to her husband, so the church is to Christ. Marriage is a reflection of the magnificent mystery of union between Christ and His church, completely unknown until the New Testament.
MacArthur writes that…
John Piper comments that…
Constable writes that…
Lloyd-Jones has an interesting comment writing that…
Mystery (3466) (musterion from mustes = one initiated [as into the Greco-Roman religious "mystery" cults] from mueo = to close or shut) (Click word study on musterion) as used in classical Greek conveyed the idea of silence in the rites of the "mystery" religions so common in the Greco-Roman Empire. Musterion referred to religious secrets which were confided only to the initiated. Thus in Paul's day, musterion embrace ideas such as "a secret rite," "secret teaching," and "a divine mystery which is beyond human comprehension." The "mystery-religions" had their secrets and signs as modern secret societies have today. Those initiated into these pagan cults, knew these secret signs.
Musterion in Scripture takes on a completely different meaning and does not refer to truths know only to a select, initiated few but in contrast was is a previously hidden purpose of God which when uncovered is understood by the Spirit-taught believer. In other words musterion signifies those truths which are part of God's plan and can only be understood as He reveals them by His Spirit through His Word. Musterion is a truth which without special revelation would have been unknown and thus is commonly used with words denoting revelation or knowledge (e.g., "to know the mysteries", (Mt 13:11), "revelation of the mystery", (Ro 16:25-note) or "made known… the mystery", Eph 3:3-note)
The secret counsels of God remain hidden from the ungodly (to them they are a true "mystery" as the word is commonly used in English) but when these truths are revealed to the godly, they are understood by them. The mystery is not in the fact that the truths are difficult to interpret, but that they are impossible to interpret until their meaning is revealed at which time the truth becomes plain.
Mysteries in the Scripture fall into two categories. Some have already been revealed, and among these are the incarnation of Christ and the salvation of sinners. Others are yet to be seen, such as the general resurrection, the coming Antichrist, and the evil of the last day. It is comforting to realize that all the mysteries which bear on our salvation are already revealed to readers of Scripture.
Vincent defines musterion as that
There are 28 uses of musterion in the NT - Mt 13:11; Mk. 4:11; Lk 8:10; Ro 11:25; 16:25; 1Co. 2:1, 7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; Ep 1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 5:32; 6:19; Col. 1:26, 27; 2:2; 4:3; 2Th 2:7; 1Ti 3:9, 16; Rev. 1:20; 10:7; 17:5, 7
F B Meyer writes in his devotional commentary on Ephesians…
BUT I AM SPEAKING WITH REFERENCE TO CHRIST AND THE CHURCH: ego de lego (1SPAI) eis Christon kai eis ten ekklesian: (Ps 45:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17; Song 1:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; Is 54:5; 62:4,5; Jn 3:29; 2Co 11:2; Re 19:7,8; 21:2)
I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church - John MacArthur asks…
Christ (5547) (Christos from chrio = to anoint, rub with oil, consecrate to an office) is the Anointed One, the Messiah, Christos being the Greek equivalent of the transliterated Hebrew word Messiah.
Church (1577) (ekklesia from ekkaléo = call out in turn from ek = out + kaleo= call) literally "called-out ones". The Greeks used ekklesia for assembly of citizens called out to transact city business. The church is a living organism, composed of living members joined together; through which Christ works, carries out His purposes and He lives.
Everyone who has been saved belongs to the body of Christ, the universal church. The universal church is manifested in the world by individual local churches, each of which is to be a microcosm of the body of Christ. The church is to function under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, operating under His sovereign rule. Jesus Christ is the Founder and Lord of His church and has guaranteed its perpetuity until He returns.
John Piper writes that "In other words, the covenant involved in leaving mother and father and holding fast to a spouse and becoming one flesh is a portrayal of the covenant between Christ and his church. Marriage exists most ultimately to display the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. (Marriage: God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace )
Amplified: However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [hat she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and hat she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: In practice what I have said amounts to this: let every one of you who is a husband love his wife as he loves himself; let the wife reverence her husband. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Nevertheless, also as for you, let each one in this manner be loving his own wife as himself, and the wife, let her be continually treating her husband with deference and reverential obedience. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: but ye also, every one in particular--let each his own wife so love as himself, and the wife--that she may reverence the husband.
NEVERTHELESS, EACH INDIVIDUAL AMONG YOU ALSO IS TO LOVE HIS OWN WIFE EVEN AS HIMSELF: plen kai humeis oi kath' ena hekastos ten heautou gunaika houtos agapato (3SPAM) os heauton.: (Ep 5:25,28,29; Col 3:19; 1Pe 3:7)
There is no more definitive statement of God’s ideal for marriage than Ephesians 5:32. When believing husbands and believing wives walk in the power of the Spirit, subject themselves to Christ holy fear, yield to His Word and His control, and are mutually submissive, blessing is the result.
Nevertheless - See discussion of .
McGee comments that Paul's word…
Each individual among you - Paul addresses every husband individually without naming him as such and encourages (actually he commands - present imperative - as our habitual, continuous practice) each to go on loving his wife as his very self.
Remember husbands what God commands, He always enables. We can't love our wives in our strength, but only in the grace and power supplied by the indwelling Spirit. Try to love your wives to the point of being willing to die for them and see how far you get in your own strength.
MacDonald commenting on husbands loving their wife as themselves says…
Love (25) (agapao related to noun agape - see word study) describes the love God gives freely, sacrificially and unconditionally regardless of response -- love that goes out not only to the lovable but to one’s enemies or those that don't "deserve" it. Agapao speaks especially of love as based on evaluation and choice, a matter of will and action. This love is not sentimental or emotional but obedient and reflective of the act of one's will with the ultimate desire being for another's highest good. Since it is unconditional, this love is still given if it's not received/returned! Agape gives and give and gives. It is not withheld.
Agape love is commanded of believers, empowered by His Spirit, activated by personal choice of one's will, not based on one's feelings toward the object of one's love and manifested by specific actions (see 1Cor 13:4-8 [see notes ] for a succinct list of these actions). Agape love speaks of a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the one loved, a love that impels one to sacrifice one’s self for the benefit of the object loved. It is the love shown at Calvary. The prototype of this quality of supernatural love is the Father's love for sinful men as manifest by the Son's sacrifice on the Cross.
Speaking to faithless Israel God speaks of coming days of restoration declaring…
In Romans Paul explains that even while we were helpless and ungodly, Christ died for the ungodly adding…
F B Meyer writes that…
AND THE WIFE MUST SEE TO IT THAT SHE RESPECTS HER HUSBAND: e de gune hina phobetai (3SPPS) ton andra.: (Eph 5:22; 1Ki 1:31; Esther 1:20; Hebrews 12:9; 1Peter 3:2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Respects (5399) (phobeo from phobos = fear, reverence, respect, honor) means to be afraid of someone, clearly not the meaning in this context. The idea of phobeo here is to have a profound measure of respect for one's husband. Note the present tense calls for continuous respect, which will surely be her response when she is sacrificially, unconditionally loved by her husband.
Paul had used the noun (phobos) related to phobeo in this section when he exhorted both spouses to…
And remember that the context of this exhortation is related to the charge for believers to be continually be being filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit.
John Eadie comments…