A series of articles exploring teachings from the Good News as reavealed by God in His Word to us.
The Biblical roles of husbands and wives.
Attention: If you believe that the Bible is an outdated book written by male chauvinists, you may as well stop reading right here. If you believe that God has written the Bible, then I invite you to please read on.
What does God say?
Let's put forth what God has to say first:
1Ti 5:8 But if any do not provide for his own, especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
1Co 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.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23 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.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Col 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
Col 3:19 Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.
Col 3:20 Children, obey [your] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
1Ti 2:12 But I do not allow a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
1Pe 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
1Pe 3:2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
1Pe 3:3 Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
1Pe 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
1Pe 3:5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;
1Pe 3:6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
1Pe 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
Eph 5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
Tit 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
Tit 2:4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
Tit 2:5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
A lack of teaching/preaching.
Every Father's Day there are preachers across the country and globe speaking on a man's duty to his wife and family. They speak of a man's duty to lead the household, their duty to love their wives, and their duty to support the family. I have heard numerous of these types of sermons and they often occur on Father's day. It is interesting that I do not hear similar sermons on submission for women on Mother's Day. I suspect that this is mostly because preachers are almost exclusively males and believe that they are preaching to themselves as much as they are to the men in the congregation and are uncomfortable and perhaps fearful to preach on what women should be doing.
Roles are being undermined in our society.
The feminization of our society has resulted in a serious undermining of male authority. From sitcoms that belittle men and their leadership to people who insist that there is no difference between the sexes, our society has forgotten about the Biblical mandate that the male is the head of the household and his responsibility is to lead the family and that the women are called to submit and follow. Too often the opposite is taught. Men are to be blamed for lack of leadership and women are to be blamed for their lack of submission.
God's commands are being ignored.
The concept of wives submitting to their husbands is repeated as clear as can be 3 times (Eph 5:22, 1Pe 3:1, 1Co 11:3) and at least 2 additional times where it is strongly alluded to (Tit 2:5, Eph 5:33). Not a lot of other commands are repeated 3-5 times so clearly in the New Testament. If this is repeated so often, then why is it so neglected and even avoided? It is because it has become politically toxic in our "modern" society. Preachers don't go near it for fear of offending. Most preachers are male and don't want to come across as attacking women - it is much easier to offend men because they are offending themselves in the process and therefore, it lightens the blow.
Unfortunately, we are paying a sorry price for this lack of preaching and teaching on this vital subject in our families and in our country. We are paying the price for couples not practicing these commands. I know of a family where the husband is of one Christian faith and the wife of another Christian faith. The husband desires to lead the family as commanded in the Bible, however, the wife has chosen not to submit to the husband in this vital area and does not follow the husband's lead. This family has been rent in two because of it. A spiritual hole has been blasted through the middle of the marriage. A gulf exists between them where it should not. God has given males and females different callings and responsibilities. Neither is better nor worse - just different. Our society has decided that the "injustice" of the male authority for the past thousands of years needs to be reversed and reparations paid. So instead of following Biblical roles in our society, it has actually reversed the roles to anti-Biblical roles. This is at least partially responsible for the obvious serious breakdown of the family in America. Unfortunately, as the family goes, so goes the country. I am certain that our country is headed for a serious breakdown if we don't get the family fixed. Men need to man up, take responsibility, and marry (hopefully before having children) their wives so that the family can be a family. Men then need to lead that family. Men need to love their wives. Wives need to submit rather than rebel against their husbands. This is the Biblical way to build peace in the household and to build a family that stays together. When family stay together, the nation stays together.
Further on different roles.
Different roles outside of the the difference described above are common in the Bible. Just because they are different doesn't make one lesser or the other greater.
Consider Paul's comments about his roles and the role of his peers:
1Co 3:4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men?
1Co 3:5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.
1Co 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
1Co 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
1Co 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
1Co 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
Paul is clearly distinguishing his role as planter (like a traveling evangelist) to Apollos as a waterer (like a pastor that feeds and waters his flocks). Both are infinitely lesser roles than He who makes the people grow (gives people faith and strengthens it). Paul says that they are not "anything" compared to Him.
Paul's role was not to baptize, but to preach (others had the roles to baptize):
1Co 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.
The 12 apostles had different roles than the deacons that they assigned to perform the ministry of serving tables:
Act 6:2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
Act 6:3 "Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
Act 6:4 "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
Peter was the apostle to the Jews while Paul was apostle to the Gentiles. Nowhere is one mentioned as greater than the other:
Gal 2:7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised
Gal 2:8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),
Similarly, the Bible teaches that we all have different gifts and our roles should be partially defined by what gifts we have been given:
1Co 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
1Co 12:6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.
1Co 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Just because men and women have different callings, gifts, and roles from God does not mean that they are lesser in God's sight and should not be considered lesser in man's sight.
Strength or greatness doesn't necessarily come from having authority.
Scriptures actually teach the opposite:
2Co 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Joh 13:12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?
Joh 13:13 "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.
Joh 13:14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
Joh 13:15 "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
Luk 14:11 "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Mat 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Luk 22:27 "For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.