Women submitting to men – What does the Bible say?
The Bible speaks about the equality among men and women, but also that women should submit themselves to their husbands. Naturally a woman must obey GOD more than MAN in cases where her husband would be opposing God. That’s why it’s beneficial in all sorts of way for a christian woman to marry a Bible believing man. If both parties obey Paul’s instructions, it’s a good ground for a matrimony in harmony.
Eph. 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 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.24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
1 Cor 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
1 Cor. 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
Women in the Bible
Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna, etc are named prophetess of the Lord…
Judges 4 & 5: Deborah, a prophet-judge, headed the army of ancient Israel.
2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22 Huldah, a prophet, verified the authenticity of the ”Book of the Law of the Lord given through Moses.”
Acts 9:36 f Luke refers to a female disciple by her Aramaic name Tabitha, who was also known by her Greek name Dorcas.
Romans 16:1: Paul refers to Phoebe as a minister (diakonos) of the church mistranslating it as ”servant” or ”helper”.
Romans 16:3: Paul refers to Priscilla as another of his ”fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (NIV) Other translations refer to her as a ”co-worker”. The original Greek word is ”synergoi”, which literally means ”fellow worker” or ”colleague.”
Exodus 15:20-21 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.’
Micah 6:4 I brought you up from the land of Egypt. I redeemed you from a life of slavery. I sent Moshe, Aharon and Miryam to lead you.
Isaiah 8:3 And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.
Luke 2:36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Rom. 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
Phil. 4:2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Acts 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 ”And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy
Anthrópos and anér – two words for MAN
If God caused Balaam to be taught by a donkey (Numbers 22), why couldn’t He use women to teach men? If women are supposed to submit to men, what happens when christian men disagree among themselves?
There are 2 words for MAN in Greek ”Anthrópos” and ”anér” (genitive of ”anér” is ”andros”). In some languages the word for ”man” and ”woman” can mean either man/husband or woman/wife, depending on context. In English separate words are used. When it comes to the Greek NT, there is no other word for a husband but ”anér”.
Jacques More says: In my research and look at every place where ”anér” and ”anthrópos” are found, and reproduced in the appendices, something became clear: ”anér” is always used about a particular man so that in the plural it refers to a particular group of men whilst ”anthrópos” is about any man, someone, and in plural can just mean ”peoples”. This is well illustrated in John’s gospel and the feeding of the 5,000. ”Then Jesus said, ‘Make the people (anthrópous)sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men (andres) sat down, in number about five thousand’. John 6:10 (NKJV)
Verses commonly used to support a general headship of man
1) 1 Cor. 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Anér is here used for ”the man” resulting in ”head of woman the man/husband”. The definite article is present to indicate a certain man, and ”anér” itself refers to a particular man. Again there is no other word for ”husband” but ”anér”. A better translation would be: ”and head of a woman THE HUSBAND” As found in the Amp.V, GNB, LB, RSV. 1 Cor. 11:3 cannot thereby be used for a general understanding of headship of men over women!
2) 1 Timothy 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man (andros which is from the Greek word anér), but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
The man Paul is talking about is a particular man – namely the HUSBAND of the woman. There is no other word for ”husband” than ”anér”. But we already know that a husband is the head of the household and not the wife. So a woman must submit to her own man and she must not have authority over him. It doesn’t say that a woman must be submissive to ALL MEN, and that ALL MEN can be an authority over ALL women out there. No, Paul is comparing with Adam and Eve, and he doesn’t suggest that Eve must be submissive to any other man than her own husband. But Paul is not saying that a woman therefore should try to rule over other men in a church environment.
The context shows he is also talking about a church environment and Paul is addressing the issue of church order and about the danger of deception. The concern seems to be speaking out of turn while the official leader is teaching. In other areas women are free to pray and prophesy publicly “every woman who prays or prophesies” (1 Cor.11:5 NKJV) and to share and teach “whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has an interpretation” (1 Cor.14:26 NKJV) which Paul here proceeded with “How is then, it brethren?” (NKJV) Brethren is meant in a generic sense as seen by Paul’s use of the term in regards to communion (1 Cor.11:33-34), the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor.12:1), to prophecy (1 Cor. 11:2-16) and the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17-34). Then he gets into his main subject, the exercise of spiritual gifts (especially speaking in tongues), in chapters 12-14.
1 Cor. 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
If women were not allowed to pray and prophesy in church, it wouldn’t make sense to have rules for women how to go about when praying and prophesying. Paul nowhere says that women are to pray and prophesy only for women, and it would be a difficult task for a woman who feels a message coming from the Lord, to first try to make sure that no men are present risking to overhear her. A better translation of 1 Tim. 2:12 would be “nor to exercise authority of A HUSBAND”. The below verse seems to confirm that Paul wants to instruct his readers about order in church.
3) 1 Corinthians 14:34 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.35 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.
Also this shows that it concerns a church setting. Paul might have had good reasons for giving advice to the Corinthian church due to unruly women with low education (or none) who have many questions in relation to what is spoken about during a church gathering. These women might have disturbed the assembly due to questions, gossip and general talk why some instructions from Paul were needed. This still doesn’t mean that Paul’s advice was for this church alone but was an instruction for all churches to adhere to.
Another subject is women in leadership
There are views for and against women leadership and even if the below three verses seem to endorse only male leadership when it comes to bishops, deacons and elders, one of the arguments against (I’m not saying it’s right or wrong) is that there are verses such as Gen. 2:24 (Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh),where the MAN is in focus and used as an example, even though BOTH men and women are inferred. Both men and women must equally leave their parents even though only the MAN is referred to. Matt. 5:28 is another example of that the man’s perspective is in focus:
Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
This is very serious information and there is not a word about that it’s a sin for a WOMAN to look on a MAN to lust. This is something we just have to ADD or ASSUME, despite that we can’t read this in the text. The argument is thus, that the below in the same way uses the MAN as an example, even though the same rule applies for both genders.
1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop (episkopon) then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons (diakonoi) be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders (presbyterous) in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
”The husband of one wife” is literally ”a one-woman man” which is an idiom. If taken literally this requirement would rule out unmarried, widowed and divorced men and women from being church leaders; yet Paul says that being single and celibate enables people to serve God better (1 Cor 7:32-35). The phrase is essentially describing the moral quality of marital fidelity, and not primarily referring to marital status or gender. An interesting verse when in relation to Tim. 3:12 is:
1 Tim. 5:14I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
So in conclusion a WIFE is not supposed to have authority over her HUSBAND, but what if her husband allows her to teach others about the gospel – whoever wants to listen? Then she is not going against the will of her husband even though she is teaching and spreading the word to others. She IS submitting to her husband. I hope women are allowed to teach their sons about the Bible and that there is no age limit for when they need to stop this due to the risk of teaching a person who is considered a ”man” and not a ”boy”.
With this background, it’s never a good idea for a man to dismiss a woman in a theology discussion for the reason that she is a woman teaching a man. Unless he is the HUSBAND of this particular woman. But this still doesn’t mean that all kinds of crazy theology views are correct just because a husband is claiming them before his wife or another woman. All men are supposed to be corrected by Jesus who is their Head, and Jesus words are found in the BIBLE which is our guidance. It’s rather evident that ALL christian men cannot ALWAYS be correct in a theology discussion with a woman. If that were the case, then a catholic man would automatically be correct for saying that christians should pray through Mary – if claiming this to a woman. If the woman objects, he can always say ”Who are YOU to teach a MAN?” Works all the time…
(Check www.jarom.net to find more information from Jacques More about this subject and others)