Fellow Heirs of the Grace of God

2014 The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference


In this 57-minute session from the 2014 TGC Women’s Conference, Don Carson unpacks Genesis 1-2 and Ephesians 5 to help believers understand marriage in light of creation. 

Don is a respected New Testament scholar and professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is also the co-founder and president of The Gospel Coalition and author of numerous books including The God Who is There and The Intolerance of Tolerance.  




Don described how the creation accounts in Genesis 1-2 differ:

  • Genesis 1 - God as sovereign over all things and relational in nature; emphasis on humans similarity to God as image bearers. 
  • Genesis 2 - God as personal and present with image bearers; emphasis on man being made first and woman taken from man to complement and complete him.  

We were made to be in relationship because we are made in the image of our relational God. How have deep connections shaped your life and faith? What are the dangers of isolation?
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We see in Genesis 2 that men and women were created equal in dignity and value, but to assume distinct roles. Is this a familiar concept to you, or completely new? In what ways have you wrestled to biblically understand gender roles?
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Ephesians 5:18-21 (ESV)

18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,21submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Of this passage Don said, “Submitting to one another is seen as part of what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit. It is bound up in Christian living.” 

How does this context influence your understanding of submission? Do you struggle with the concept or practice of submission? If you are married, in what ways do you submit to the leadership of your husband?
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Ephesians 5:25-33 (ESV)

25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27so 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.28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,30because 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.”32This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.33However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



We see in this passage a command for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. Don said, “If it is both sacrificially and for her good, husbands are morally bound to keep asking: What have I sacrificially given up for her good?” 

How does this call for Christ-like love invite submission? If you are married, what sacrifices does your husband make for your good? How has his sacrificial love encouraged your faith?
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With the abundance of choices and the destruction of family in our contemporary culture, Don challenged believers to choose the Word of God and trust that His perfect design for marriage is for our good and His glory. 


To learn more about The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference and how you can attend the next event, click here.