Contrary to what is commonly believed, the Bible does not undermine women. Various translations make it seem that it does, but careful, unprejudiced study of the original Scriptures in Hebrew and Greek indicate that God really does mean what He says about not respecting men above women.
According to the true meanings of the words of the Bible, women can be pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets, and apostles. For Scriptural support of this position, read Why Not Women? by Loren Cunningham, David Joel Hamilton, and Janice Rogers.
Or just close your mind and play right into satan's hands like billions of men already have, to the detriment of their own personal growth and of the Church.
Also, contrary to the original Scriptures, God does not mean for wives to be subordinate to their husbands. The Bible has been translated for centuries by men whose hearts were polluted with pride and the desire to control to the advantage of men and the detriment of women. They saw what they wanted to see when they interpreted the Hebrew and Greek, though the original languages offered alternative meanings that did not make women subordinate.
The traditional interpretation of the Scriptures where wives are expected to defer to domineering husbands has caused many men to find a great deal of satisfaction in their marriages, while at the same time their wives endured it in misery, but kept their complaints to themselves lest they were deemed "unwomanly" and "unspiritual".
Give a woman someone truly caring to talk to, though, and that can change. There are plenty of men who, when asked how their marriage is, will say it's okay, or even that it's terrific, and are surprised when their wives launch into a litany of grievances when they are asked the same question.
The satisfaction that men find in relationships where they are patriarchal is paltry compared to the satisfaction that they could have if they were to follow God's plan for marriage, which is a loving relationship where the partners are equals.
Egalitarian marriages are far superior to traditional marriages that place the husband as an overlord in the relationship. In North America, Christians and non–Christians have almost the same rate of divorce. The couples who rarely divorce are those who respect each other in an equal partnership, regardless of whether the couples are Christians or unbelievers. Of the marriages that stay together, a higher percentage of the unbelievers' equal partnership marriages are probably happier than the Christian marriages where the wife is expected to be subservient to her husband.
Probably? You mean you don't know for sure? No, I haven't taken a survey, but if you are a man who questions this assertion, imagine yourself in a marriage relationship where you are expected to always defer to the other partner. Would you be happy? Or would you be happier in a relationship where you have just as much say in decisions? Yeah, I'd say that even if people aren't Christians, they are happier about that aspect of their relationship than Christian women who are expected to always defer to their husbands. They might not be happier about other aspects of their relationship, though.
Christians have misunderstood what the Bible means when it speaks of women as being "weaker vessels". It does not mean that they are weak–minded and need men's superior brains to do their thinking for them and make decisions on their behalf, regardless of whether the wife is agreeable to going along with it or not.
When the Bible refers in 1 Peter 3:7 to women being weaker vessels, it is speaking of women being physically smaller and less muscular, so the husband therefore takes her physique into consideration. He doesn't expect her to do more physical work than he does. He takes care that she doesn't need to get a job that will eventually cripple her because she isn't built as strongly as a man, though it pays more than a traditionally female job. One way he does this is that he doesn't abandon his wife and children, leaving the wife to support the children.
The Apostle Peter says that the husband is to give his wife "honour" because of her physical frailty, meaning respect in the sense that we honour anyone who is weaker than ourselves by being considerate of their frailty rather than taking advantage of it. A godly man doesn't ridicule his wife's weakness (i.e. teasing or reviling her that she is a wimp, if she isn't as strong or as hardy as him), nor anyone who is weaker than himself, for that matter. His strength has been given to him to serve and to protect those who have been given into his care.
Neither is a woman inferior to a man because some women get PMS due to fluctuating hormones. Men have their own liability when they are overloaded with testosterone and make decisions with their penis, instead of their brains. As far as hormonal liabilities go, men and women are fairly even on that score.
Women are not intellectually inferior. In fact, in many marriages, the wife is actually the more intelligent and talented partner, and a smart man will let his wife do the things that she is good at, including handling the money if she is better at it than him.
Also, if the wife is more mechanically–inclined than the husband, then let her fix the car, but the husband should be on hand if something needs to be done that requires strength. Likewise, if a husband is more artistic than the wife, let him take the lead in that direction. I knew a kind and gentle giant who was 6' 5", the Music Director in a church I attended, and he sewed curtains for his home and clothes for his wife and kids because he had a talent for it.
I marvelled at a dainty, little ball gown that he made for his daughter Harmony's Barbie doll as a Christmas present. Alan grumbled that he'd "had the dickens putting the tucks in those sleeves". Little wonder; he had such big hands. He also arranged flowers. Alan Christiani is secure enough as a male to exercise his God–given, artistic talents, even if it goes against what are considered traditional male roles. When I said to his little girl, "You have a very special father; do you know that?" she shyly replied, "Yes", with a sweet, southern drawl.
Women are different from men emotionally, but that does not mean that they are inferior in that area. Men need what women bring emotionally to a relationship, just as women need what men bring in that regard to a relationship. God made men and women different in this way so that husbands and wives will develop patience and sensitivity. This is what Peter meant when he told husbands to dwell with their wives according to knowledge. A man is supposed to make a study of his wife to learn her thoughts, her moods, her tastes, her desires, her needs, and use that information, not to manipulate and oppress her, but to serve her.
If the Apostle Peter, who was a heavily macho, choleric type of guy, could realize that this is how women should be treated, then there's no excuse for anyone else to be a lunkhead towards their wife. No wonder Peter's wife was willing to follow him anywhere and share his hardships.
Women (as a general rule) don't need to be told to make a study of their husbands because, emotionally, we're more inclined that way than men are. Women love to talk with each other about relationships, analyze those with whom we have conflict, and figure out how we can please the people who are important to us. We are instructed instead to love our husbands because, God knows, sometimes they sure do act like jerks! Which makes it very tempting to pretend that we don't know what they want and do passive/aggressive stuff to get back at them.
Hey, guys. I love ya! You just don't know what it's like, though, to be a woman in a man's world. Then when women become Christians, though we hear men being taken to task from the pulpit for promiscuity instead of being considered manly if they can get a lot of women into bed with them, we still have to put up with preachers promoting errors that put us at a disadvantage.
It has been a mistake among Christians to assume that because godly men were patriarchs in the Old Testament that patriarchal systems were good systems. The patriarchs also owned slaves, but it would be unjust to assume by this that it is okay to own slaves. Instructions given in the New Testament regarding slaves and slave ownership do not condone slavery; rather they set people in the direction of abolishing slavery, and provide slaves with a means of keeping their sanity when they have to endure bondage.
Likewise, the patriarchs were polygamous, but in this regard the New Testament insists that church leaders must be monogamous. God permitted these follies because the people of those times didn't know any better, as they were raised in depraved cultures, and society at that time was not geared towards instant acceptance of God's higher level of justice.
Brothers, do you think that females won't learn submission to proper authority unless we have to be subordinate to a husband? There's plenty of opportunity for us to learn submission – the same opportunities that are afforded to men. Just like you, we have to give proper respect to kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, governors, premiers, judges, policemen, employers, etc,… We have to obey our church leaders when they exercise their God–given prerogatives (but not when they exceed those prerogatives), and when we are children, we are expected to obey our parents. Yep. There are plenty of opportunities for us to demonstrate that we know how to submit to proper authority. You don't need to give us an extra load, one that you would not touch with one of your fingers. [Luke 11:46]
When the Bible speaks about submitting one to another (this includes husbands submitting to wives just as much as for wives to submit to their husbands), it means that we are supposed to cooperate with each other and help each other do the things that God has directed us to do. That makes sense. Teamwork gets things done. And God, in His wisdom, isn't going to tell one partner to do something and then tell the other partner to do something that works against it. That means that a husband and wife are going to have to figure out who has heard from God, and who just wants to do their own thing, and not assume that the husband is in the right and, by twisting Scripture, guilt the wife into going along with it.
I have heard it argued that the Bible clearly states that wives are to submit to their husbands but it never says that husbands are to submit to their wives. This is mere nitpicking, an arguing about terms. The Bible says that husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies, to make a study of their wife so that they can be sensitive to her needs, and to give themselves for their wife as Christ gave Himself for the Church. If a man is doing these things for his wife, then he is submitting to her. He is placing his desires subordinate to her needs, or at least trying to find a happy compromise between his desires and her desires.
Children are supposed to submit to their parents, but parents are cautioned to not provoke their children to wrath. If a child brings a reasonable request to a parent and it is denied arbitrarily, the parent is in the wrong, even if he is in authority, and God holds the parent accountable for behaving unreasonable. If a child presents a rational argument to counteract the parent's tyranny, the parent is not only wise to listen respectfully and respond with acquiescence, but is also obligated by justice to do so. Submission should be a two–way street even between parents and children, never mind between two adults.
Brothers, most of you have no idea the heartache that men have unjustly caused women for centuries because of male chauvinism in the Church. It has not only bruised your sisters–in–Christ, but it has also turned many women away from seriously considering the claims of the Bible, with the result that there are women now burning in Hell who might not be there if Christian men hadn't been dictatorial.
If it doesn't move you that "unsubmissive" women are burning in Hell, then consider all the men they influenced in their lives who are now burning in Hell with them, or are on their way there, because of the bitterness of those women against this false teaching of male dominance. Those men may not have any issues with male dominance, but their minds have been groomed against God because of the influence of significant women in their lives.
It's time that you stop and open your mind long enough to let God's truth seep into it, consider that maybe the traditional interpretations are wrong, and dig more deeply into the Scriptures by looking at their meaning in the original language. Don't rely totally on Strong's Concordance to get the full meanings. James Strong's native language was English, not Hebrew or Greek.
There are Bible studies that delve into the original Hebrew and show that God made Eve co–ruler with Adam. She was not his subordinate. There are Bible studies that show that Eve's curse was not that her husband was supposed to rule over her, but that when women catered to their husbands instead of giving God first place, they would become vulnerable to their husband's control. Women possibly have more of a tendency to want to please their husbands, than what men have to want to please their wives, but men also become vulnerable to their wife's control when they give her a higher place than God. The woman's curse works both ways, just as the man's curse of difficult toil also applied to women. Work for either sex was no longer all fun and no anxiety. This curse was addressed to Adam, though, as men are better equipped to work outside the home to support their family, whereas women are better equipped to nurture the family.
It was anxiety that God was referring to when he told Eve that He would increase her sorrow in conception and bringing forth children, not physical pain. There are many women who, not only were not Christians, but had never even heard the Gospel, who did not experience pain in childbirth, primarily because they did not learn to expect it to be painful. Some ladies, even in a culture where they are taught to expect pain in childbirth, don't experience very much. How did they manage to escape that curse when they aren't even born again? The reason is that the curse was about anxiety. Mothers usually have a strong protective instinct towards their children, and Eve knew that she was bringing her children into a fallen world full of many potential dangers. It is possibly a hormonal condition in the female body that makes women more susceptible to this kind of anxiety, though men worry about their children's health and safety and sorrows, too.
All of this anxiety, difficulties with work, and other curses aren't supposed to apply to Christians. Yehoshua has removed the curse from us, so even if one believes that part of Eve's curse was that she was supposed to submit to her husband, it no longer applies. If God has set men free from being anxious about earning a living, why should women still have to bear their curse of always obeying their husband, even if he is unreasonable? We can have as much freedom that Yehoshua has purchased for us as we exercise our faith to appropriate.
There are Bible studies that show that women were not supposed to be quiet in church permanently, but only until they were properly educated in the Scriptures so that they wouldn't feel tempted to interrupt sermons to ask their husbands for clarification on the Scriptures, and also to enable them to teach with greater understanding and precision, which included teaching men as well as women and children. Until Yehoshua came to liberate women, among His many other missions, most women were deprived of a scholastic education. Paul was telling men to teach their wives at home all the things that they (the husbands) learned in school, so that their wives would be educated, too.
Yehoshua wants women to be elevated. Not above men, but to their proper place beside men. He did not overlook women. Some of His closest friends were women. It was Mary Magdalene to whom He appeared first after His resurrection. It was Mary, the sister of Lazarus who paid attention when Yehoshua said He was soon going to die. She anointed Him for His burial, weeping over the fact that He had to be put to death, and wiped His feet with her hair. Sometimes she is confused with another woman, a prostitute who also anointed the Messiah's feet and washed them with her tears. Yehoshua's male disciples were continually ignoring all that He had to say about how He was going to be put to death. It didn't fit in with their dreams of glory that they hoped to obtain for themselves through their association with Him.
The disciples criticized Mary for "wasting" money on Yehoshua. He explained to them what she was doing and told them to leave her alone. There are a lot of women since then who have ministered to the Lord by trying to minister to His people as pastors, teachers, apostles, and prophets, and men have criticized them for it. They haven't been listening when Yehoshua has been telling them, if they aren't going to help them, to leave those women alone and not hinder them in their work for the Lord.
Yehoshua saved a woman from being executed for a sin that was overlooked in men. He restored a dead child to life for the sake of his widowed mother. He healed a woman of menstrual problems and ensured her safety in her community by publicly commending her for her faith. He defended a poor widow from ridicule by publicly commending her for giving all that she had to the Lord. He defended a repentant prostitute from censure when, out of gratitude that He was different from other men, not out to use women as she had often been used, bowed in homage before Him and poured ointment on Him. Normally, men who thought of themselves as righteous, would not speak to even their own wives, sisters, and daughters in public, considering it beneath them to do so. But Yehoshua let this woman touch Him and even spoke directly to her, demonstrating that He did not despise her either as a woman or for mistakes that she made in her past. He also became indignant when He was criticized for healing a crippled woman on the Sabbath, referring to her as a daughter of Abraham, meaning that she had as much right to the inheritance of the Chosen People as any Jewish man.
Yehoshua lifted the burden of over concern with domestic tasks and women's exclusion from spiritual studies by publicly telling Martha that it is more important to spend time with Him and hear what He has to say, than to knock oneself out preparing food for people. The other men in that room probably thought that Mary should get up and help her sister prepare more shish kabob, pitas, couscous, and a lot of other dishes to delight their taste buds and satisfy their stomachs, and were annoyed that she presumed to sit there among them.
Consider how Yehoshua's disciples were wrong so many times about what God thinks about things, not always on His wavelength. Such as when they rebuked women for bringing their children to Yehoshua to be blessed. Women and children were beneath their notice, unless they were lusting after a woman or wanted the women and kids to perform menial services for them. Yehoshua was always tender and considerate and fair towards women and children.
Yehoshua marvelled at the faith of a Gentile woman, saying it was more than he had ever encountered in any Jew, male or female. Yehoshua showed respect and concern for women. It sure would be something if men who claim to be Christians emulated Yehoshua in His level of respect and concern for women and other people whom they mistakenly consider their inferiors.
Guys, are you really serious about following Yehoshua of Nazareth? Are you willing to learn the truth of what the Bible really says about women? Are you willing to follow Yehoshua's lead in breaking the chains of male chauvinism from off of women? God's people are destroyed by lack of knowledge. It isn't only women who are destroyed by an ignorance of what the Scriptures teach, but some parts within the souls of Christian men are destroyed when they cleave to their arrogance and decline to know more about how God made women equal to men, in spite of how He made them different from men.
Click below to read:Wisdom for Women of God
To read some excellent studies on the topic of God's liberation of women, click the following links:
God's Word to Women by Katharine Bushnell
God's Word to Women Word Studies
God's Word to Women Topic Studies
Women in the New Testament by Kenneth E. Bailey
The Meaning of Head by Kluane Spake
One Flesh by Leslie & Gary Johnson
Jesus was a Femnist by Leonard Swidler
Who's the Boss? by Eddie & Susan Hyatt
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on November 24, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.