Does God Allow Women to Make Their Own Decisions?

“It seems to me that people who believe in Biblical Patriarchy as you do think that women are incapable of making any decisions.  Why would God give women the human ability to reason as men do if he never intended them to make any decisions for themselves?” This was a question I recently received from one of my readers.

Obviously, the person who wrote me these questions does not believe in Biblical Patriarchy and like many people they have a negative view of it.  So, what does the Bible say about women making decisions? Does it allow women to make decisions?

The Husband is the Head of the Home but the Wife is the Manager of it

The Bible says the following about a husband’s headship over his wife:

“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 every thing.”

Ephesians 5:23-24 (KJV)

God has established three spheres of human authority and they are the family, the church and civil government.   And while no human authority sphere is unlimited its power, the husband’s authority over his wife is the most powerful of all human authorities because his authority over his wife extends into the most personal areas of another person’s life.

But the husband’s very personal authority over his wife’s life does not mean she cannot make any decisions for herself.  In fact, a good wife makes many decisions on a daily basis.

The Bible admonishes women to regard their husbands as their earthly lords in 1 Peter 3:6. But one of the primary ways a wife serves her husband, her master, is by managing the affairs of his home. 

The Bible speaks to the woman’s duty to manage the affairs of the home in the following passage:

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

The phrase “guide the house” is an English translation of the Greek word “Oikodespoteo”, which comes from two Greek words “oikos” (house) and “despoteo” (to rule). This literally means to occupy one’s self in the management of a household.  A manager is one who must make decisions.  Therefore, we can rightly say that God does in fact want women to make decisions on a daily basis as they manage the affairs of the home.

In the passage below from the book of Proverbs, the Bible gives us an entire list of examples of decisions that good wives could make on a daily basis:

“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:10-31 (KJV)

So, as we can see from the above passage from Proverbs, women can make many kinds of decisions.  They can decide what dinners to make and what kinds of clothes they would like to make or buy for their family on a daily basis.  They could decide to sell at a market, fair or online – things they make in their home.  They could decide to use their wisdom and years of experience to teach other women how to be godly wives and mothers by teaching a woman’s Sunday school class at church or writing a woman’s blog.  They could choose to make food or clothing to help the poor and needy around them.  They could organize meals with other women to assist people in their church that are sick or otherwise in need of help.

They could decide to ravish their husband sexually as Proverbs 5:19 exhorts them to do and invite their husband to feast on their bodies as the wife does in Song of Solomon 4:16.

There are so many good decisions that women can and should make on a daily basis.

Man Can Override the Decisions of Woman

The Bible actually dedicates an entire chapter to the subject of women making personal decisions.  It is found in the book of Numbers.

“1 And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded.

2 If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth;  4 And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.

5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her. 6 And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul; 7 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.

8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her.

9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.

10 And if she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath; 11 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. 12 But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her.

13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.

14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.

15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.

16 These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house.”

And now we come to the truth of the matter.    Egalitarians and even many complementarians who hate the doctrines of Patriarchy found in the Bible know that God does in fact allow women to make decisions.  But what they don’t like is that women can and should be held accountable for their decisions by their male heads, whether they be their fathers or their husbands.  They hate that God gives fathers the authority to overrule any decisions their daughters make and especially hate that God gives husbands the authority to overrule or literally void any decisions their wives make. 

Conclusion

While wives can make decisions, they should only make decisions which they do not believe will conflict with their husband’s will in any given matter.

And really, this is a question we should all ask ourselves about each decision we make on a daily basis.  In the book of James, we read the following principle about making decisions:

“13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

James 4:13-15 (KJV)

All of us are accountable to the Lord for every decision we make.  As men we can also be held accountable for some decisions by our civil authorities and for other decisions by our church authorities. But in some decisions a man makes, he is accountable only to God.  It is not the same for women. A woman can held accountable for every decision she makes by her father or her husband.   And this is what opponents of the doctrines of Biblical patriarchy hate as it conflicts their humanist ideals of individuality and equality.

The Bible however stands in full opposition to the humanist ideals of individuality and social equality and that is why humanists want to rid it from all areas of our society.

Thankfully though, we have this promise regarding the Word of God:

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

1 Peter 1:24-25 (KJV)

7 thoughts on “Does God Allow Women to Make Their Own Decisions?

  1. “…Why would God give women the human ability to reason as men do if he never intended them to make any decisions for themselves?”

    I do not believe God gave women the ability to reason “as men do”. I suppose this person may be speaking in generalities, as in, both men and women can reason, but I think the difference in HOW men and women reason is partially the reason God gave authority to men over their wives. Women tend to reason emotionally and can make rash decisions in those emotions. Fortunately for them God gave them protection by giving the authority to husbands and fathers to negate those bad decisions and leave women blameless. I do not think women have any clue as to the power of that authority, nor the symbolic “life ring” husbands and fathers have been given! Think about it! If a man makes a vow and fails in it he must stand accountable before God and man! If his wife makes the same vow, but he thinks it foolish he can wipe it out! Gone! SHE DOES NOT STAND ACCOUNTABLE EVEN BEFORE GOD IF SHE OBEYS HER HUSBANDS DECISION. I don’t think even men understand the power of their authority nor the suffering they can save their wives from, when their wives are in obedience!

    It’s sad to see the West hate the word of God so much. His ways are perfection, even when we cannot follow them perfectly.

  2. Understanding the Greek word for “submit” (ὑποτάσσω / hupotassó) makes the wife’s “decision sphere” much clearer. The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon says this of the word’s origin:

    A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”.

    Since it’s a military term, looking at the military is a good idea. Probably the closest analogue is the Captain of a ship and his Executive Officer (XO for short). The captain is the ultimate authority of the ship and can override the XO on anything. However, the XO is responsible for the day-to-day running/management of the ship as well combat readiness and most other daily functions. The XO takes care of these concerns to free the captain for managing “bigger picture” items like the mission and strategic concerns. The XO should run the ship how the captain wishes, but she does run the ship on a daily basis.

    As it relates to marriage, the top answer on this page is excellent for understand decision-making and the proper relationship. You can look here for a list of XO duties, all of which require good decision-making skills.

    The parallels with Biblical marriage are numerous and excellent, though not always perfect.

    Probably the best explanation of how this works in real life actually comes from a ~2.5 minute scene in Star Trek The Next Generation. It’s brilliant in it’s explanation of an XO’s primary function (to carry out the will of the captain).

  3. I love Star Trek TNG. While all Star Trek shows, even going back to the original series had a bit of humanism and socialism in them, the newer ones today (like Discovery and even Picard) are ramming the homosexual and transgender agenda down our throats are way worse.

  4. I don’t believe women really should make decisions, nor do I believe they are the manager in the home. Women completely and totally lack proper reasoning skills to have any authority whatsoever, over themselves and especially over children. That’s a very dangerous and unholy game to play.

  5. @ SnapperTrx True Biblical submission is not based in “have to” but “want to”, as is love. This idea is completely contradictory to not only the overall theme of the Bible, but directly so whenever there is a reference towards the interpersonal dynamic between male and female, husband and wife.

  6. Buzz,

    Thank you for proving to my detractors that there are actually people to the right of me in regard to women’s roles in society and marriage. And when I say you are “to the right” I mean your position is to the right of the Bible which means your position is wrong and unholy. Your position is flawed for the same reason that the Egalitarian and Complementarian views of women’s roles in society and marriage are flawed. It is flawed because of your feelings toward women. My position and the position of Biblical patriarchy is that the Bible and not our feelings is what determines the roles of women in the family, the church and society.

    The Bible is crystal clear that the wife is the “Oikodespoteo”, literally “house manager”. The Scriptures are abundantly clear that children are to OBEY both their father and their mother. Of course we understand that if the mother conflicts with the father that the children should obey the father over the mother. But if the mother’s commands do not conflict with the father’s commands then the children are to obey her as their authority. Here some Scriptures which provide us with this Biblical principle:

    “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not OBEY the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them”
    Deuteronomy 21:18 (KJV)

    “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”
    Proverbs 30:17 (KJV)

    “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right”.
    Ephesians 6:1 (KJV)

    I agree though with what Snapper said that a woman’s reasoning is not the same as a man’s. Men are much more logical and rational than women typically are. But that does not mean women are not logical or rational at all but just that they are typically less rational and logical than men. Women are suited for authority over children and for teaching other women as God himself makes clear in Ephesians 6:1 and Titus 2:3-5.

  7. Great Expectations,

    You have supplied us with the standard Complementarian dogma that submission must be voluntary and cannot be forced. But again this dogma is based on feelings and the enlightenment philosophy of individualism which laid the ground work for modern-day feminism. It is not based in a Scriptural world view no matter how many times Complementarians like yourself say it is. God disciplined his wife Israel, bringing her into bondage to other nations and bringing great pain and suffering on her in order to bring her back into submission to himself. Christ says to his churches (his wife) in Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”. Sounds like forced submission to me.

    What Complementarians fail to grasp is that there are two kinds of submission in the Bible. One is a voluntary submission between equals, between men and men and between women and women in the church. But then there is the military form of submission which can and must absolutely be compelled from the one in the higher ranking position. This is the way in which the husband/wife relationship is spoken of. Christ as the husband of his church compels her obedience through rebuke and discipline and so too husbands are called to compel their wives discipline through rebuke and discipline as well.

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