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----------- Do You Have a Fuzzy View of Gender? ----------- Kevin Tuck, httpwww.rgbstock.com

———– Do You Have a Fuzzy View of Gender? ———– Kevin Tuck, http://www.rgbstock.com

Equality Lost

Sadly, the Church’s long embrace of Patriarchy (male leadership in society), as well as its current entanglement with Complementarianism (a newer watered down version of Patriarchy where the role of leadership in the home and church are designated to males), are a perpetuation of the Fall and its consequence, “HE (man) SHALL RULE OVER YOU (woman)”. As such, they have nothing to do with the New Covenant and the gender equality found in Christ.

To consider how this came about, here, in a nutshell, is an overview of mankind, male and female, their dominion and how they have related to one another in God’s timeline:

Creation

The foundation for male and female equality, being joint heirs with joint dominion is found in the very beginning, in Genesis 1:27-28:

So God created man in his own image… MALE AND FEMALE he created them … And God said to THEM,”…fill the earth and SUBDUE IT, and HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:27-28).

Note: nothing is said of gender roles or rank, or roles with rank.

Fall

Inequality that exists through so-called male roles of leadership was not in God’s original plan, but is described in Genesis 3:16 as one of the consequences of the Fall.

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and HE SHALL RULE OVER YOU” (Gen 3:16).

History shows that man has certainly done this, even, and sometimes especially, by those in the church.

Note: male rank became the typical default.

Restoration

Although He worked, and works with us in our brokenness of male dominance, inequality is not God’s original or ultimate plan. In the New Covenant, described in Acts 2:17-18 and Galatians 3:28, we find a restoration to the equality seen at creation:

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy (Acts 2:17-18).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28).

Note: nothing is said here or anywhere in the New Testament of spousal rank or church roles with rank.

Male Dominance Preserved by Misinterpretation, Tradition and Man’s Fallen Nature

These doctrines of Patriarchy and Complementarianism come from misinterpreting God’s word and are perpetuated by having become unquestioned tradition for many. Of course, the fallen male nature to want to dominate also helps to entrench these traditions.

As a result of years of indoctrination and bad example, many in the Church have a veil of Patriarchy on their minds that causes them to misread texts like 1 Cor 14:34-35, 1 Tim 2:11-15, 1 Tim 3:1f, 1 Cor 11:3f and Eph 5:22f. Consequently, these texts are used to endorse behavior that is contrary to the Spirit, which is both sad and ironic, because Paul was often teaching against Patriarchy with those very texts.

For a look at those misused texts in context, click on these links:

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 – “Let your women keep silence…”
1 Timothy 2:11-15 “… I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man…”
1 Timothy 3:1f – “…an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife…”
1 Corinthians 11:3f – “…the head of the woman is the man…”
Ephesians 5:22 – “Wives, submit to your own husbands…the husband is the head of the wife…”

May the joy of God’s original purpose of gender equality, that was lost at the fall, but found in Christ, become all the more yours in your home, the Church and in all of life.

God bless,

Rob

Ayla87 (Michael & Christa Richert) http://www.rgbstock.com

Ayla87 (Michael & Christa Richert) http://www.rgbstock.com

Did Paul, or for that matter God, teach “”Let your women keep silence in the churches”?

In writing to the Corinthian church, Paul writes, “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 Cor 14:34-35).

That seems plain as day, right? Yes, if these verses are looked at in isolation, it does seem very plain that Paul was restricting women from speaking in church meetings. However, let’s consider the text, in its context.

Immediate Context:

Firstly, consider that the very next verse says, “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” (1 Cor 14:36), which, if read immediately after verses 34-35, shows Paul to be reacting to the idea of restricting women and not advocating it.

Extra Biblical Context:

Now, someone may rightly ask, surely Paul would not advocate following God’s law only to immediately refuse the idea. But, was it God’s “law” that Paul was referring to that says women ought to keep silent? No! A careful search will reveal no such law in the Bible.

So what “law” was Paul referring to then? Paul was quoting the Jewish oral law (Talmud) in vs 34-35 that some in the church apparently still wanted to embrace. And, in vs 36, we see Paul reasoning against this restriction on women. Firstly, he is clearly flabbergasted by such a notion. Then, through rhetorical questions, he refutes their logic to keep such a custom.

Paul points out that the word did not come from men, but, by implication, that it is from God. And, that it also did not only go to men, but, by implication women too. The logic being that there was no reason to restrict women from speaking because they “learn” just fine directly from God and His word and don’t need to be instructed by their husbands at home in order to learn. This explains the grammar and obvious tone in verse 36.

TALMUDIC QUOTES:

Only men could speak in public (Beraktoth 4,36; Mishnah Aboth 1,5)

No woman could give a testimony or conduct business. (Mishnah Shabbath 4,1).

For a glimpse into the prevailing mindsets around that era, here is Adam Clarkes comment on Verse 34:

“Let your women keep silence in the churches] This was a Jewish ordinance; women were not permitted to teach in the assemblies, or even to ask questions. The rabbins taught that “a woman should know nothing but the use of her distaff.” And the sayings of Rabbi Eliezer, as delivered, Bammidbar Rabba, sec. 9, fol. 204, are both worthy of remark and of execration; they are ….”Let the words of the law be burned, rather than that they should be delivered to women.” Adam Clarke

Further Context:

Paul would be contradicting himself in the very same letter if he taught that women were to keep silent. Consider that he says 1 Cor 14:26, “…when ye come together, EVERY ONE of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation…” This would be impossible for women if they were to keep silent.

Furthermore, Paul clearly knew, taught and practiced the New Covenant where no restriction on women exists. In Galatians 3:28, Paul captures the equality that is found in Christ. It reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Paul Was Rejecting Male Patriarchy and Not Women Speaking

So, contrary to the teachings and traditions of Judaism (and a whole lot of Christianity today), PAUL WAS OPPOSING THOSE WHO WOULD SILENCE WOMEN. He was correcting those who were wanting to bring certain wrong teachings and traditions from Judaism into the church. Clearly, if we are to isolate verses to capture Paul’s thinking then surely his view is seen in vs. 36 and not vs. 34-35.

He then refutes opposition to this by saying, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Cor 14:37-38).

Recommended Reading:

For an excellent and more complete explanation of these verses, I would like to suggest another’s post: 1 Corinthians 14:34-35: Should Women be Silent in Church?

Here is another interesting article too: Paul’s Missing “Double Bunk” in 1 Corinthians 14:36

Perhaps you are asking, “What of:

1 Tim 2:11-15

1 Cor 11:3

1 Tim 3:1

Eph 5:22?

Rob Morley

Light and Life Bible Ministries:

Excellent! This is a reblog from a reblog! It’s about being female and in the image of God. Loved it!!!
Rob Morley

Originally posted on Everyday Encounters With the Creator:

biblegirl

If you give a girl a Bible, she’s going to ask her Father what it means.  When he begins to explain it to her in the quiet of her soul, she’s going to know she has a gift and know she’s made for more.  When the gift becomes his glory, she’s going to use it all the time.  So she will sing or plan or teach or write.  When she’s done she’ll share those gifts with you and she’ll want to read some more.

She might do something unrefined or something strange indeed, but she is more than mommy, sister, wife, and matcher of the socks.  She is the very image of a God who lives outside the box.

If you give a girl a label, though, and strip away her clothes, Her Almighty Father will run right back to her and tell you where to keep your nose.  The…

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Been Spiritually Abused?

by mokra (Marcelo Mokrejs) http://www.rgbstock.com/user/mokra

by mokra (Marcelo Mokrejs) http://www.rgbstock.com/user/mokra

Dear Reader,

If you have been spiritually abused in any way, I would like to invite you to take a few moments to read the following invitation by a fellow Christian worker, Dr. Barb Orlowski (D.Min.), whose research and life’s work is focused on helping the spiritually abused find recovery. 

Thanks,

Rob Morley

Greetings Everyone!

January has been designated, for the past number of years, as: *Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month*

Many bloggers have joined in to raise the awareness about spiritual abuse.

Some of you may be new to this negative church life experience and how devastating it can be.  Finding others online, who have experienced spiritual abuse and hearing how they have slowly recovered, provides hope and help for those who have wondered what exactly has happened to them.

You may not be aware of my ongoing invitation for people who have suffered from spiritual abuse and who have recovered sufficiently–to fill out my online questionnaire.

This initial survey was designed for participants in my doctoral research project regarding spiritual abuse and how people eventually recovered from it.

Out of that project came my website:  www.ChurchExiters.com and my book, entitled: “Spiritual Abuse Recovery:  Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness.”

Bloggers have been a huge help in getting the word out for people to know about this opportunity to tell their stories and have these accounts added to the growing statistics of those wounded by spiritual abuse in their local churches.

A few years ago I was asked by a researcher in Australia if I could point them to statistics regarding how widespread spiritual abuse was.  At this time, there still does not appear to be very many studies that I can point people to, apart from my own.  This is a motivator to request that people–who were not involved in the original study–take the time in order to be a part of this new research project.

Please carefully consider the following criteria for participation in this opportunity to ‘Add Your Voice’ on my website ChurchExiters.com

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

  1. Carefully read through the criteria.
  2. If you have considered the criteria and feel that you fit and that you will not be harmed by answering the questions, please proceed.
  3. If you feel that this exercise could be therapeutic as well as help to bring you closure, please proceed.
  4. Then Click on PLEASE CLICK HERE for Participant Questionnaire.
  • Your completed questionnaire will be added to my ongoing file.
  • Your comments will be kept completely confidential.

Thank You for being willing to share your story!

Looking forward to hearing from you as soon as convenient.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at this email address: info@churchexiters.com

All the best!

Barb Orlowski, D.Min.

In Part 1, I consider that Gender neutrality is evident in 1 Tim 3:1, indicating that from the outset God is open to both male and female elders. 1Tim 3:1 reads, “This is a true saying, If a man (Gk. tis – anyone) desire the office of a bishop, he (not in Gk.) desireth a good work.

However, even if Paul had only males in mind for elders when writing to Timothy, we need to keep in mind that Paul was not writing a manual, but a letter for an occasion and our interpretation of God’s word needs to keep this in mind. As such, we should consider that Paul was quite easily being descriptive of elders and deacons as males, for this was where the church was at socially, but that this was not necessarily being prescriptive for eternity.

This is obvious for us in our time on the issue of slavery, about which Paul also wrote on concerning slaves and slave-owners, and yet we do not take what he wrote as an endorsement of slavery. Also, we do not believe that his writing on slavery within the church requires it to be an eternally prescriptive element for church and society, though it is in the eternal word of God. Why? Because we have learned to interpret, sensitive to the context and not willy-nilly apply what we read.

So, just as slavery was not being endorsed by its inclusion in Paul’s writings, female eldership is not to be disallowed by its exclusion from his writings, if indeed it was excluded.

Remember, that in Christ we are restored to the equality at creation (Gen 1:28), male rule since the fall (Gen 3:16) is ended, and there is “neither male nor female”, we are all “Sons of God” and we regard “no man according to the flesh”. What reason then would God have to be gender exclusive when it comes to the role of eldership? None!

Rob Morley

Complementarians prohibit women from eldership citing 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Tit. 1:5-9, which refer to the need for elders to be the “husband of one wife”. However, they fail to see the flaw in this logic because, by doing this, they would have to prohibit single men and widowers too, for these are not “husband of one wife” either.

Clearly, the stipulation of “husband of one wife” was concerning the typical candidate of Paul’s day – an experienced married man. In his instructions to Timothy and Titus, Paul focusses in on the typical. As such, he was not giving a blueprint that would reject single men and women. No doubt, women would have been unusual candidates in that period of history and especially in a religion born from Judaism, but not for the Spirit and the future that He had in mind as illustrated in His word. The stipulation of “husband of one wife” has its focus on the necessity for monogamy if married and not on gender or marriage status, i.e. being single or married.

Gender neutrality is evident in 1 Tim 3:1, indicating that from the outset God is open to both male and female elders. 1Tim 3:1 reads, “This is a true saying, If a man (Gk. tis – anyone) desire the office of a bishop, he (not in Gk.) desireth a good work.

When describing the requirements for elders (and deacons), Paul focusses on the typical candidate of his time, a spiritually sound and experienced married man. As such, he does not mention women, single men and widowers, but he is in no way excluding them. He then returns to gender neutrality in 1 Tim 3:5

Gender neutral:

1Tim 3:1, This is a true saying, If a man (Gk. tis – anyone) desire the office of a bishop, he (not in Gk.) desireth a good work.

Focus on a typical married male candidate:

1Tim 3:2-4 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity

Gender neutral:

1Tim 3:5 For if a man (Gk. Tis –anyone) know not how to rule his (not in Gk.) own house, how shall he (not in Gk.) take care of the church of God?

As I see it, The Holy Spirit’s choice of the gender-neutral word “tis” in 1 Tim 3:1 and 3:5, indicates His intention for the meaning to include both males and females. Also, the obvious calling of single men as elders clearly shows that these texts were not as prohibiting as they may first appear.

(I would like to add that even if only males were meant in these texts, this still does not imply that they prohibit females. I will explore this idea in part two.)

Remember, that in Christ we are restored to the equality at creation (Gen 1:28), male rule since the fall (Gen 3:16) is ended, and there is “neither male nor female”, we are all “Sons of God” and we regard “no man according to the flesh”. What reason then would God have to be gender exclusive when it comes to the role of eldership? None!

Rob Morley

Photo: scottsnyde (Scott Snyder) Rgbstock.com

Photo: scottsnyde (Scott Snyder) Rgbstock.com

Biblical texts are often used as proofs for our own particular set of Christian values. Among those are texts which appear to subject women to men and wives to their husbands. But do these texts mean what many have ascribed to them?

Clarity for these texts are found in careful consideration of each passage in its own context and by avoiding transferring our own ideologies into the text. In the next posts I will cover two passages that speak of a husband’s headship in order to give some idea of their original meaning in context.

The first text, 1Corinthians 11:3, reads: But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Here, the term “head”, from the Gk. kephale, is to be understood as “source” or “origin” without the idea of rank and has as its meaning the idea of chronology and not hierarchy.

To further substantiate this, the sequence in 1Cor 11:3 shows that hierarchy wasn’t the meaning. The sequence in the text is: Man – Christ, Wife – Husband, Christ – God

If hierarchy was the meaning, then it would have had this order: Wife – Husband, Man – Christ, Christ – God

Thirdly, hierarchical interpretation of this passage begs the question, is the ascended Christ, the Son of God, under God? As the Word, having been equal to God, He relinquished His equality for our salvation, but isn’t He restored to equality with God with ALL authority in heaven and earth? And, only at the end will He subject Himself to God again (see 1 Cor 15:28).

Order by chronology according to origin/source:

The source of every man is Christ (ADAM was made by Christ)

The source of the woman is the man (Eve came from Adam; also descriptive of that time when a husband was the main provider of physical resources and spiritual food which he could access more easily and from which she was often deprived access)

The source of Christ is God (Christ from God, Begotten of God, God became flesh to be the Christ)

Consider Cyril of Alexandria (5th century): “Thus we say that the kephale of every man is Christ, because he was made through Him and brought forward to birth…. And the kephale of woman is man, because she was taken from his flesh and has him as her source. Likewise, the kephale of Christ is God, because He is from Him according to nature.”

Someone may ask, “But, isn’t the husband meant to be the leader if he is the head?” and cite Ephesians 5:22-25: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. This is the second text that I want to reflect on.

Firstly, it is key to note that just prior to these verses, verse 21 says “…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This is important because, in order for all the parts of the body of Christ to function properly, submission needs to be universal in the kingdom of God.

Secondly, the term “head” (kephale) has the meaning of “source” and not rank. The focus is on husbands being the source of care for their wives as Christ is for the Church.

Consider that coming out of darkness and oppression is both instantaneous and progressive. So, while we are instantly changed spiritually, we often take time to change behaviorally and it usually takes even longer for the effect of the gospel to change society, even Christian society.

So, just as masters and slaves were prescribed certain behavior in the New Testament and yet slavery was not being endorsed as a Christian ideal, so too, husbands and wives were prescribed certain behavior toward one another in their current context, which was not an endorsement of the status quo where husbands were the main providers and sole leaders and where their wives were heavily dependent and often the only “partner” in submission.

Slavery and subservient wives were the context, but not the ideal to which Christianity was pointing. God-breathed prescriptions were given into these circumstances in which those saved found themselves, which, if carried out wholeheartedly, were a means to a greater end – the emancipation of slaves and women.

Essentially, husbands and wives who came to Christ, were on a journey back to mutuality. On this road, wives were not to use their freedom in Christ to become reactionary, domineering or rebellious, but to remain in submission, a Christian trait for all. And, husbands, who according to verse 21 were to submit too, as the main providers at the time, were to use their circumstantial benefits to help lead toward spousal relationships of equality.

As for us today, while we can all draw from the many truths in this passage, only those who are saved within the highly patriarchal societies will experience a direct correlation with this scripture. Husbands in general have always been the head, being the main source of provision and, by default, since the fall, the leaders. However, if they carry out their role in Christ properly, they would be able to help lead their marriages (and eventually society) to experience mutuality with regards access to resources and the opportunity to lead.

In our modern world where women enjoy a lot more liberty in church and society, husbands are still to provide support for their wives to fully flourish. But, with the opportunities that many wives have, it’s now more of a mutual support of one another than ever before. In some societies we can taste the pre-fall dream of mutuality that was lost at the fall. Certainly Christianity in most places should have moved far from the sad years of men having sole access to the many resources that made them the primary providers and also, sadly, often dominate their wives and women in general. Yet, this is not the case because of narrow views of what certain Scriptures really meant. Worse still, is the modern trend to again enslave women in emancipated Christian society through the ideologies of Patriarchy or Complementarianism.

Pre-fall Mutuality:

Gen 1:28: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Mutuality Lost and Post-fall Dominance:

Gen 3:16: To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Mutuality Restored:

Gal 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In Christ, husbands and wives should be joint providers, especially of an environment for mutuality. There, Christ is their provider and alone is preeminent in every area.

Rob

Picture by Adrian van Leen http://www.rgbstock.com/user/TACLUDA

Picture by Adrian van Leen
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/TACLUDA

It is often said that one reason we cannot have women as elders in the church is because Jesus did not select any women as one of the twelve apostles. But is this a fair argument?

Jesus, Radical and Wise

While Jesus was radical is His approach, He was wise too. He did not have a lot of time and women were restricted in ways that would take generations to change. In His day, the males were trained in the Scriptures far more than the females and men were culturally accepted to be listened to much more than women were. Also, it would have appeared very inappropriate in His day to have a team that comprised of both genders living together as He and His apostles needed to.

Unfair Argument

As a basis for the selection of church elders, the argument that Jesus never chose a female apostle to be among the twelve is clearly biased too, because He also never chose a Gentile and yet we are happy to have Gentile elders. Just as Gentile elders are not disproved by Jesus choice of 12 Jews as His apostles, neither are women. The basis for Gentile selection as elders is found elsewhere in God’s word and so is the basis for female selection as elders.

Clearly, having Gentiles or women as the main apostolic witnesses to all that He said and did would have been untimely and would have frustrated more than helped the cause. In short, He chose Jewish men simply because they had the cultural access needed to speak in the Temple and synagogues that neither women nor Gentiles had.

Jesus Empowered Women

Jesus’ approach toward women was very radical and would help pave the way for their eventual full emancipation and participation. He began ringing changes by teaching women both publically and privately and commissioning them with messages to share to men and women, none more profound than the announcement of the resurrection which He gave to Mary Magdalene to share with the apostles.

The full outworking of God’s principles toward women has its foundation in Christ. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Rob Morley

Other related posts:

A Road to Egalitarianism

Let Women Teach with Authority

Naming of Eve and Adam’s Authority

Husbands, Submit to Your Wives

Ready to Rule Together
Photo by Lajla Borg Jensen @ RGBStock.com

MISUSING A CUSTOM

There is no evidence in both the incidents of Adam “naming” Eve that God had given him authority over her. I say this to counter the willy-nilly correlating of these incidents with a Hebrew custom that if you named something it indicated that you had authority over it.

If it was a Biblical custom, then its origins may lie in Adam naming the animals. However, the naming of the animals was only shown to be out of God’s interest to see what Adam WOULD name them. Yet, even if it did imply authority over the animals, this incident was by God’s leading, whereas the “naming” of his counterpart was not.

ADAM CALLED HER “WOMAN” AND NAMED HER “EVE”

Note, that the first time that Adam saw the woman, he exclaimed out of his free will and NOT by God’s command, leading or for His interest (as with the animals), “she shall be called Woman.” By doing this, he did nothing wrong, but neither was he under God’s direction. He was simply responding to having seen His counterpart.

Then, later, when Adam names the woman, “Eve”, in Genesis 3:20, it is after the fall and God did not command this either (though He may have inspired the choice of name). So, once again, this could be simply Adam’s free will (perhaps with God’s inspiration), but because it is after the fall, it could also be argued that this was Adam’s first act of ruling Eve as Genesis 3:16 said would happen.

There is therefore no evidence that by Adam calling the person made from his side “Woman” and later naming her “Eve”, that these acts of naming her had any connection to having authority over her.

EZER KENEGDO

In an effort to prove their point that Adam had authority over Eve, some have argued that slaves, children, and animals were named by those who were over them. This was true, but slaves, children, and animals don’t equate to the Counter-part Woman given to Adam. She was not a slave, child or animal, but that teaching produces the fruit of people treating women this way.

Rather than be subject to him, the Woman was to be a strength alongside Adam (his Ezer Kenegdo – a help as his counterpart). She would be strong where he was weak and together they would have co-dominion over every living thing, with the mission to subdue the earth (see Gen 1:28).

(Note: Ezer is often used of God helping us. Kenegdo shows the help is of an equal. From word study of “help meet”, EZER KENEGDO, God’s Word to Women).

Rob

Husbands, Submit To Your Wives!

“I LOVE, YOU SUBMIT!!!” Picture: matchstick (Martin Walls)http://www.rgbstock.com/user/matchstick


HIS AND HERS?

We can clearly see in Scripture that wives are expected to submit to their husbands, and that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and to lay down their lives for them. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For 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. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph 5:22-25). These particular commands to husbands and wives may appear to absolve wives from the life-sacrificing love that is required from husbands and may also appear to absolve husbands from submitting to their wives.

 THERE’S MORE

However, in the broader body we are all expected to lay down our lives for one another and to submit to one another. Consider these scriptures: 1 John 3:16, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” Eph 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” In Eph 5:22-24, Paul was having husbands and wives focus on particular areas, but was in no way suggesting that wives were absolved from laying down their lives for their husbands nor husbands from submitting to their wives. Marriage does not nullify the general commands to submit to one another (Eph 5:21) and to lay down our lives for one another (1 John 3:16).

PRACTICING THIS LIFESTYLE

Practicing this kingdom lifestyle in the home has its challenges, which can be even more magnified depending on the context. Consider that in the context which Paul wrote, just as slaves needed a special focused word of exhortation to submit to their masters (see Eph 6:5-8), wives, who had all along generally been treated as 2nd class, also needed a special focused word of exhortation to submit. Especially that, in the light of the freedom of the gospel, it may easily have appeared to them that they needn’t submit to their domineering husbands anymore. Similarly, husbands may have needed a special focused word of exhortation at that time and in their culture to love their wives, as many would have been part of a culture where they treated their wives as 2nd class citizens, always at their beck and call.

SO,

In the context of all of scripture, it is clear that the message to husbands and wives universally is to practice a lifestyle of mutual love and submission. In other words, husbands, love means submitting to your wife too (Eph 5:21). Equally, wives, submission means laying down your life for him too (1 John 3:16). See also: Equality in Marriage 1, Equality in Marriage 2 Rob

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