“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.
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.”
“We are to live under a different system, where neither husband nor wife exerts power over the other. Our God was not a “servant leader” but an actual servant. The difference is huge.
Imagine a king who chooses to live among his subjects. He works with them, eats with them, and shares conversation with them. But he can’t be one of them, because he has power they don’t. He can change his life—or theirs—on a whim, and they can’t. He and his subjects can appear the same, but they can’t be the same as long as this power differential exists. The only way he can change this is to give up the crown. That’s what Jesus did. And that is what Paul calls husbands to do in Ephesians 5.”
This is what the Devil does. He takes some bit of truth and then twists it into a lie to fit his purposes. Is it true that Christ said leaders should serve those under their leadership? Absolutely. But he did not teach or do the things that Egalitarians say he did in the statement above.
To expose this heresy that Egalitarians teach we will look at what Christ actually said and what he actually did in comparison to their assertions.
Christ’s Teaching and Example of Servant Leadership
In Mark 10:42-45 Christ made the following statement:
“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
This is probably the greatest statement Christ gave on serving. But to fully understand Christ’s Words in Mark 10:42-45 we must contrast them with another statement he made to the Jewish leaders in Matthew 26:63-64:
“But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
The Jewish leaders knew exactly what Jesus was alluding to when he said he would come on “the clouds of heaven”. This was a reference to what the prophet Daniel said in Daniel 7:13-14:
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
In Jesus’s first coming, he did not yet come to establish his earthly kingdom, but instead he came to be the suffering servant. He came to do for us that which we could not do for ourselves. He came to pay for our sins and to purchase his church, his bride, with his blood (Acts 20:28).
But one day he will return to establish his earthly kingdom. And in that kingdom, he will compel all nations to serve him. And if they do not, they will be punished with drought and plagues as Zechariah 14:16-19 shows.
Christ Was Not Just a Servant, He Was a Servant Leader
The egalitarian assertion that Christ, “Our God was not a “servant leader” but an actual servant” is demonstrably false.
Jesus did NOT lay aside his crown or kingship, he was still king of heaven but he had not yet established his earthly kingdom as he stated in John 18:36:
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.“
When Christ drove the money lenders from the temple, that was an exercise of his authority and power in John 2:15-16:
"And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."
Only a leader can issue commands to others, and that is what Christ did with his Apostles in Mark 6:7-8:
“And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse”
Christ “commanded” his twelve disciples and only a leader can do that. He gave them power over unclean spirits and once again only a person with power can give power.
Christ spoke as “one having authority” as the people saw in Matthew 7:28-29:
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
He gave a great commission in which he first asserted his power then gave the following commands to his Apostles in Matthew 28:18-20:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
No, my egalitarian friends – our God, Jesus Christ, was not just a servant, he was indeed the ultimate servant leader!
Christ Was Correcting Earthly Authority, Not Abolishing It
Christ made the following decree through his Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1-7:
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
And in Hebrews 13:7 Christ made the following statement through the writer of Hebrews regarding obedience to church authorities:
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”
In 1 Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6 Christ tells wives through his Apostle Peter:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear…For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
And in Ephesians 6:1 Christ tells children through his Apostle Paul:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
So, as we can see from the passages above, Christ was not abolishing human authority or saying it was wrong for human authorities to exercise their power over those under their leadership. But rather, he was showing us how human authorities at all levels should conduct themselves. He was showing us the difference between good and bad leadership. The difference between a selfish leader and a servant leader.
Selfish leaders only think of themselves and not the good of those whom they lead. A Christ-like servant leader thinks of the good his people. He is willing to step in and do any job when his people cannot do it for themselves even to the point of giving his life for his people as Christ did. But as we can see from the fuller picture of Christ’s leadership, a servant leader still compels the obedience and service of those under his authority.
Servant Leaders Compel Their People to Fulfill Their Mission
Christ had a mission, and so does every leader. Civil leaders have the mission of protecting the rights of the people by punishing evil doers and praising those who do well. Church leaders have the mission of spreading the Gospel, discipling believers and disciplining those who bring shame on the church by their public sins.
And husbands have the greatest mission of all earthly authorities. This mission is seen in 1 Corinthians 11:7:
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”
A man’s life mission is to live out the very attributes of the masculine God which we serve and thereby bring God glory. A part of his mission is for him to image God as a father to his children in teaching them, disciplining them and preparing them for the roles which God has given them in this life.
One of the most crucial aspect of a man’s mission is his leadership of his wife. This leadership is to imitate God’s leadership of his people. The requirements of this part of man’s mission are seen in Ephesians 5:25-29:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
Men have the awesome responsibility of washing their wives’ spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God, just as Christ does his church. The purpose of this washing is to help a wife to reach her full potential as a wife, to be the glorious wife God wants her to be.
And what does it mean to be a glorious wife? That is also revealed in this same chapter of Ephesians in verses 22-24 and 33.
“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 every thing…Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
A glorious wife according to these Scriptures is one who submits to her husband as she would to God with the exception of if her husband asks her to do something which violates God’s law (Acts 5:29). A glorious wife submits to her husband in everything, not just things she is comfortable with or feels like doing. And a glorious wife reverences her husband with a deep and profound respect.
It is not a coincidence that there are two things’ men desire most from their women – submission and respect. Because this desire in men directly represents the image of God in man.
Another part of a man’s washing of his wife requires that he also follow Christ’s example with his churches in Revelation 3:19 where said “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” So, a man washes his wife with the Word of God and he rebukes and chastens her all to bring her to the point of being the glorious wife she should be.
In addition to his responsibility to wash, rebuke and discipline his wife he also has the responsibility to nourish (provide for) and cherish (protect) his wife as he would his own body.
All of these acts together constitute a man’s service and his love toward his wife. His leadership of her is his service to her. His teaching her the Word of God and washing her spiritual flaws to make her a better a wife is his service to her. His discipline of her is his service to her. His provision for her material needs and his protection of her to the point that he would be willing to give his life for hers is his service to her.
A Wife’s Service to Her Husband Looks Very Different Than His Service to Her
While it is absolutely Biblically true that a husband and wife ought to serve one another, this does not mean that their service looks the same. In fact, the way they should serve one another looks very different according to the Bible.
God has called wives to serve their husbands by bearing and caring for their children. In 1 Timothy 5:14 the Bible calls on women to “bear children” and in Titus 2:4 the Bible calls on women to love and care for their children.
God has called wives to serve their husbands by managing the domestic affairs of the home. In 1 Timothy 5:14 the Bible calls on women to “guide” the domestic affairs of the home and in Titus 2:5 it tells women to be “keepers at home”.
God has called wives to serve their husbands by freely and willingly offering their bodies to their husbands for their sexual use and satisfaction. In Romans 1:27 the Bible calls sex “the natural use of the woman” and in Proverbs 5:19 it commands men to “satisfy” themselves with their wife’s body.
God has called wives to serve their husbands by bringing them glory. In Proverbs 12:4 the Bible says that a “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband” and in 1 Corinthians 11:7 we read that “the woman is glory of the man”. A woman brings her husband glory by serving him faithfully in submitting to his leadership, in her mothering of his children, in her keeping of his home and in her satisfying his sexual desires with her body. She brings him glory with both her inward beauty and her outward beauty.
Egalitarianism is nothing less than complete rebellion against God’s establishment of patriarchy, male headship, in all areas of society including the family, the church and civil government. The lack of male leadership in any of these spheres leads to chaos and destruction. God spoke about this in Isaiah 3:12 when he said “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths”. And this is what we are witnessing today in our equality obsessed western nations.
Jesus Christ never gave up his heavenly kingship when he came to earth. But rather he asserted it many times while he was here in his earthly ministry. He was not just a servant, but truly he was a servant leader.
Christ taught us that a servant leader does not use his leadership only to fulfill his own desires. But rather he works with and helps the people under his leadership to work together to fulfill the mission he has been given or that he has set for himself. He develops the people under his leadership and seeks to help them reach their full potential. He steps in wherever help is needed and sacrifices himself for his people, but he also pushes his people to do what they ought to do and disciplines those under his authority to help them to do what they ought to be doing.
The truth we find in the Bible is that while God has called husbands and wives to serve one another, he has called them to serve one another in very different ways. The husband serves his wife as her head, while she serves him as his helper. He uses his headship to make her the most glorious wife she can be by God’s standards, and she helps him by bringing glory to him in all that she says and does.
Complementarianism is a counterfeit doctrine, an unbiblical compromise between the false doctrine of egalitarianism and the true doctrine of Biblical patriarchy. The sad truth is that in many ways’ complementarianism is more dangerous than egalitarianism, because complementarianism proports to uphold the biblical doctrines of male headship and woman’s submission where egalitarianism unequivocally denies these doctrines.
You have to look very close at the teachings of complementarianism and biblical patriarchy, like two bills, to really see the differences between the two teachings.
Origins of Complementarianism
Complementarianism was started as a reaction to the false teachings of egalitarianism. The term “Complementarian” was coined by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in 1988.
According to John Piper, who was one of the council’s founding members, complementarianism was born out of an effort to address the error of “the negation of gender differences” by egalitarians.
Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), an egalitarian organization, lists these egalitarian principles on their website:
“We believe that women and men are equally created in God’s image and given equal authority and stewardship of God’s creation.
Patriarchy (male dominance) is not a biblical ideal but a result of sin.
Patriarchy is an abuse of power, taking from females what God has given them: their dignity, and freedom, their leadership, and often their very lives.
While the Bible reflects patriarchal culture, the Bible does not teach patriarchy in human relationships.
Christ’s redemptive work frees all people from patriarchy, calling women and men to share authority equally in service and leadership.
The unrestricted use of women’s gifts is integral to the work of the Holy Spirit and essential for the advancement of the gospel in the world.
Followers of Christ are to oppose injustice and patriarchal teachings and practices that marginalize and abuse females and males.”
So, as you can clearly see from the list of egalitarian doctrines above, egalitarianism was an all-out assault on the biblical practice and doctrines of patriarchy. Christian egalitarianism was simply a rebranding of feminism for Christian consumption.
While the CBE helped to organize and codify their doctrines in the late 80’s, these doctrines had already been spreading within churches long before that time and this is what prompted the formation of the CBMW.
The CBMW issued the famous “Danvers Statement” in 1987 which included the following key statements below in response to egalitarianism:
“Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Tim 2:12-14).
Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Gen 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Cor 11:7-9).
The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1-7, 12, 16).
In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility.
In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.”
So, if you look at the two statements above, it is very easy to see two primary differences between egalitarianism and complementarianism.
Egalitarianism completely denies the biblical concept of gender roles, while complementarianism appears to affirm it.
Egalitarianism completely denies the biblical concept of male headship while complementarianism appears to affirm it.
But while complementarianism proports to be the genuine article when it comes to the biblical view of gender roles, upon closer examination we will find that complementarianism is actually a counterfeit doctrine of biblical gender roles.
The Complementarian Abandonment of Patriarchy
Egalitarianism was not the only reason complementarianism was formed. In an article entitled “God Created Man Male and Female – What Does It Mean to Be Complementarian?”, John Piper explains that complementarianism was designed to take the “middle ground” between what he and other Christian leaders saw as “two kinds of errors” in the churches. The first error which we have already addressed was egalitarianism.
But then there was a second error that complementarianism was designed to address. And that error, from their point of view, was male domination of women in society, the church and the home. They believed the terms “traditional” and “patriarchy” were linked with male domination and “the history of abuses of women personally and systemically”. And it was because of this, that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood decided that a new term must be coined to replace “traditional” and “patriarchy” in regard to the discussion of gender roles. So, they coined the term “complementarian”.
Complementarians Limit Male Headship to the Home and the Church
If you look closely at the Danvers Statement from the CBMW, you will notice that they only speak of “headship” in the home and “limitations” on women’s roles in the church. In other words, the Danvers Statement only recognizes male headship in the spheres of the home and the church but it does not recognize male headship in society.
“My convictions about the implications of manhood and womanhood for political life are nuanced and rooted in Scripture. They are also complex and controversial. So they don’t fit blogs well. But I’ll try. The gist is this:
I think that the Bible summons men to bear the burden of primary leadership, provision, and protection in the home (Ephesians 5:21–33) and in the church (1 Timothy 2:8–15). Add to this that these texts (and others, like Genesis 1–3) build their case not on the basis of culture (which changes) but on the basis of God’s design in creation (which does not change).
Therefore, I am not able to say that God only speaks to the role of men and women in home and church. If our roles are rooted in the way God created us as male and female, then these differences shape the way we live everywhere and all the time…
These and other teachings in Scripture incline me to believe that manhood and womanhood are not mere social constructs. They are rooted in God’s design for creation. They are meant to shape culture, not merely be shaped by culture…
And I certainly do not think all of my conclusions should be codified in law. It should not be illegal, in this fallen age, for a woman to be President of the United States. Christ does not implement his revealed will in this age with guns and fines. But all human government (rightly) enforces its laws with guns and fines. So law is not the way to deal with this issue. Christians should not crusade in this fallen age to pass laws to forbid women from the Presidency.”
As you can see from the statement above, complementarians while holding strong to the fact that male headship is God’s design for the home and the church, tend to get a lot more wishy-washy about male headship outside the home and the church.
Look at the way Piper couches his language as if he is sorry that it appears that God’s design might prohibit a woman from becoming President or Vice President. But then of course he quickly states that he does not believe God’s design of gender roles should be “codified in law”.
Complementarians Dismiss Patriarchy as a Cultural Rather than Biblical Concept
In the Numbers 30:3-5 we read the following:
Complementarians deny God’s design of the social classes of men, women and children and instead embrace the false humanist social classes of “adult” and “minor” that were invented by John Locke in the 17th century. They believe that once young women reach adulthood, they have the same autonomy as men to determine the course of their lives and that fathers have no right to override the decisions of their daughters once they reach the social class of “adult”.
Complementarians dismiss Numbers chapter 30 and its prescriptions regarding Patriarchal order with fathers being able to override their daughter’s life decisions and husbands being able to override their wife’s life decisions. They see the commands of Numbers 30 as well as other examples of Patriarchal order in the Old Testament as temporary and “cultural” and only specifically apply to the theocracy of Israel.
Complementarians Fail to See the Moral Law of God in the Civil Laws of Israel
Exodus 22:16-17 provides a good example of the blindness of complementarians to the moral law of God found in the civil laws of Israel.
Complementarians deny that the right given to a father in Exodus 22:16-17 to allow or refuse his daughter’s hand in marriage to a man was lasting moral law, but rather they teach that it was temporary civil law which was done away with in the New Covenant.
The reason their interpretation of this passage is flawed is because they fail to see that many civil laws in Israel also contained the moral law of God. In other words, many civil laws of Israel handled the punishment or reparations to be made for violating God’s moral law.
Below is a breakdown of the moral law and then civil reparations to be made for breaking God’s moral law in Exodus 22:16-17:
God’s Moral Law: “And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her”
God’s Civil Reparation for the theocracy of Israel: “he shall surely endow her to be his wife”
God’s Moral Law: “If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him”
God’s Civil Reparation for the theocracy of Israel: “he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins”
So, if we separate the moral law from the civil reparation for breaking that moral law, we can see there are two moral laws presented by God in Exodus 22:16-17.
The first moral law presented is that God does not allow sex outside of the covenant of marriage.
The second moral law we see in Exodus 22:16-17 is that of a father’s right to allow or refuse his daughter’s hand in marriage. When a man and woman have premarital sex, they have both sinned not just against God, but also against the woman’s father. The woman has sinned against her father by giving away that which was not hers to give and the man as well has sinned against her father by taking that which was not his to take.
Complementarians Teach That Male Domination Was A Result of the Fall
Complementarians actually agree with Egalitarians in their belief that male domination was a result of the fall. In his article “Manhood and Womanhood: Conflict and Confusion After the Fall” , John Piper wrote “And when sin has the upper hand in man, he will respond in like manner and with his strength subdue her, or rule over her”. And in another article entitled “Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head, Part 1“, Piper stated that a husband’s “headship is not a right to control” and a wife’s submission to her husband should not be “coerced” but that it must only be submission that is “free and willing”.
Complementarians and egalitarians say that the word “shall” in the phrase “he shall rule over thee” is not God’s command for husbands to rule over their wives, but rather God predicting that sin would cause men to dominate their wives.
But the complementarian position fails to take into account God’s command to Cain in Genesis 4:7:
The parallels between Genesis 3:16 and Genesis 4:7 cannot be denied. In both instances God commands that the person should rule over the other person who is trying to control them. In the case of Cain, God personifies his sin nature as a man that is trying to control Cain. But God commands that Cain should rule over that man. And in the same way God says in Genesis 3:16 because of the corruption sin wives would try to control their husbands, but that husbands must rule over their wives.
Complementarianism Teaches a Limited form of Submission for Women
“submission is not slavish or coerced or cowering. That’s not the way Christ wants the church to respond to his leadership and protection and provision. He wants the submission of the church to be free and willing and glad and refining and strengthening”
Piper uses three key words which he says are the opposite of Biblical submission and those are “slavish”, “coerced” and “cowering”. So, let’s look at each one.
Biblically speaking, wives and slaves are both owned by masters (Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 22:22, 1 Peter 3:6). Both slaves and wives are told to obey their masters in everything except if they are told to sin (Ephesians 5:24). Wives are told that their bodies are for their husband’s sexual satisfaction and use (Proverbs 5:18-19, Romans 1:27). A wife’s submission to her husband is to be even greater than that of slave to their master because her husband has the right to the sexual use of her body for his satisfaction.
So, if a wife’s submission to her husband as her master is to be greater than that of the typical master/slave relationship what is the difference between a wife and slave? The answer is found in the Biblical requirements for husbands in regard to the treatment of their wives.
A husband is required to love his wife as his own body, and to provide for her needs as he would his own body (Ephesians 5:28-29). He is to be willing to lay down his life to save his wife (Ephesians 5::25). A husband is responsible for the spiritual discipline and teaching of his wife. A husband is required to give his wife sexual access to his body (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). A husband is required to allow his wife to enjoy the fruit of her labors (Proverbs 31:31). None of these things were required of masters toward their slaves.
The Danvers Statement says a woman’s submission is not about “servility” and Piper said in the statement we are examining now that is not “slavish”. And both of those statements are completely wrong. Biblically speaking a wife’s submission to her husband is to surpass “slavish” or “servile” submission because unlike slaves, God has created wives to serve their husbands with their lives (1 Corinthians 11:9).
A Wife’s Submission Can Be in Response to Coercion
Piper’s assertion that a woman’s submission is to not come as a result of coercion from her husband is directly refuted by Christ’s statement to his churches in Revelation 3:19:
While it is true that Christ wants his church to freely submit to him, the fact is that Christ will receive submission from his church based on him using coercive means just as God used coercive means with his wife Israel to compel her submission.
And since we know that a husband is to model his love for his wife off Christ’s love for his church and that the wife is to model her submission toward her husband off the church’s submission to Christ – we can rightly say that complementarianism again is absolutely wrong on this. A wife’s submission can Biblically be coerced from her husband.
A Wife’s Submission is to be Cowering
Piper’s assertion that a wife’s submission does not involve cowering is again directly refuted by the Bible in 1 Peter 3:1-2:
Women should absolutely fear their husbands in both the sense of showing reverence toward them and also fearing discipline if they disobey. Cowering is a Biblical aspect of a woman’s submission to her husband.
No one would argue that there were not abuses committed against women both by individual husbands as well as systematically by various cultures. And even in post-feminist cultures like America today, some men still abuse their wives. But that does not mean we throw out the baby with the bathwater. We can as Bible believing Christians uphold God’s order of patriarchy and at the same time call out the abuses of patriarchy where they occur both at the individual family level as well as the larger cultural systematic level.
In regard to the term “traditional” as it relates to gender roles. We can uphold traditional and cultural values that do not conflict with the Word of God and especially those which match with the Bible and at the same time set aside some traditional values our culture may have that conflict with the Word of God.
Hebrews 9:1-10 shows us that only the civil prescriptions for punishments or reparations for breaking God’s moral law as well as the ceremonial laws are set aside in the New Covenant. But the moral law of God remains. That means we are still under the moral law found in both the Old and New Testaments.
And contrary to what complementarians and egalitarians teach, it is not a sin for a husband to dominate (rule over, control) his wife, but rather it is a sin for him NOT to dominate his wife.
In the complementarian view, a husband may only lead his wife by example or suggestions to her, but he may never lead her by commanding her or seeking to control her through coercive methods. And it is precisely because of the denial that male domination of woman is God’s command, that complementarianism teaches a hollow and weak form of male headship and female submission in the home.
When it comes to the doctrines of the Bible concerning gender roles, there is no “middle ground” and no room for compromise with egalitarianism. Complementarianism is a counterfeit doctrine of male headship and female submission.
“So the Bible is a sexist book, and that fact alone should make Christians want to acknowledge that sexism has to be a virtue. And because the Bible has been assiduously ignored when it comes to these matters for lo, these many years, this should make us realize that it is also a lost virtue. Therefore it must be renewed, or restored, or recovered, or perhaps even reupholstered. But how?”
That is a bold assertion to state that “the Bible is a sexist book”. So it is in fact true that the Bible is a sexist book?
Well first we need to define what sexism is. According to Webster’s Online dictionary the definition of sexism is as follows:
“1 : prejudice or discrimination based on sex especially : discrimination against women
2 : behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex”
So, the questions are does the Bible treat people different based on their sex and does it foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex?
The answer is a resounding YES.
In Ephesians 5:24 the Bible states “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” and in Titus 2:5 the Bible commands women to be “keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands”. It also states that women are not “…to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” in 1 Timothy 2:12 and in 1 Corinthians 14:35 it states “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home…” .
If those are not sexist statements right of out of the Bible, I don’t know what is. But we as Christians need to stop allowing humanists to frighten us into hiding with their labels.
And this is where Doug Wilson is taking a stand and I agree with him on this. I have previously written an article on this same subject about two years ago entitled “Why Christians Should Be Proud Sexists”. Some of my readers took offense at my attempt to redeem the term “sexist” as a badge of honor rather than a term of derision. Others took offense at my use of the word “proud” quoting passages like James 4:6 where the Bible states “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble”.
I explained however, that my statement about us as Christians being proud was not a pride in ourselves, but rather a pride in God and in his Word. It is pride that means to be “unashamed” as the Apostle Peter stated “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf”.
So, should we as Christians be ashamed of the fact that our Bible and our God who gave us our Bible treats people differently based on sex and fosters “stereotypes of social roles based on sex”? The answer for any Bible believing Christian should be “No I am not ashamed of God or his Word or his design of men and women”.
Let me give some other great statements by Doug Wilson in this article on this subject of sexism:
“Sexism is certainly a sin against the gods of egalitarianism, but those gods are not gods at all.They are rather little wisps of aspirational fog floating off the sewage lagoon of late-stage secularism, and so we have no reason to feel bad about committing any such “sins.” If they are not gods at all, then sins against their commandments are not sins at all.
The living God has given us His Word, and nowhere in that Word does it say that sexism is a sin against Him. That means it is not a sin at all. In fact, various things that our culture defines as sexist are enshrined as virtues in Scripture, and this means that Christians should stop their furtive glancing from side to side, and simply acknowledge that it is high time for us to recover the lost virtue of sexism.
But what would such a recovery look like? How might we recover our sexist heritage? How shall we know when we have recovered it? The heart and soul of a restored sexism is to recognize that God created men and women with different natures, and has commanded us to recognize those natures as different, and to treat men and women differently simply because they are men and women respectively.”
Amen and Amen Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson is absolutely right that “Sexism is certainly a sin against the gods of egalitarianism, but those gods are not gods at all“. And we as Christian need to stop reverencing these false gods that our culture worships. I have said many times that Western Civilization does indeed have a religion and that religion is Humanism. And Humanism like some pagan religions of old is polytheistic in that it has many gods. Some of those false gods are equality, education and the environment. If you are not willing to bow down to these gods, and if you speak anything against egalitarianism, higher education or environmentalism you are speaking blasphemy in many parts of the Western world today.
The sad part is that many Christians today believe they can worship the false gods of equality, education and environment and place their faith in humanity while at the same time claiming they worship and place their faith in the God of the Bible.
But our God is a jealous God and he will not tolerate the worship of other gods. In Exodus 34: 14 God says “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”.
In the end we all have a choice. It is the choice that Joshua gave to Israel and it is the same choice we must give to America and the Western world today.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
For all of Christian history up until the 1960s with the advent of second wave feminism women wore some type of head covering whenever they went to church for worship. The practice of women wearing head coverings is not simply a Christian tradition, but it is actually commanded in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 11:4-5(KJV): “4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 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.”
Many Christians today argue that Christian women do not have to wear head coverings any more. And believe it or not, there were Christians even back during the Apostle’s time that were arguing against the requirement of women wearing head coverings as is seen in I Corinthians 11:16 (KJV): “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”
And the great irony is that many Christians today have taken Paul’s rebuke of those who were arguing against women being required to wear head coverings and they attempt to use his rebuke to say women don’t have to wear head coverings! It really is enough to make your head explode if you let it.
In I Corinthians 11:2-16 Paul answers three very important questions about head coverings for women. He answers WHYwomen must wear head coverings, WHAT head coverings are, and WHENhead coverings should be worn.
Paul gives the reason why woman must wear head coverings as an introduction to the conversation on head coverings in I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV): “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.”
So, the reason women must wear head coverings is because “the head of the woman is the man”. Head here refers to man’s authority over woman.
Egalitarian Christians claim that “head” in verse 3 refers to man as the “source” of woman. The problem with that interpretation is it would then make God the father the source of Christ and that is heresy according to John 1:1-3 (KJV) which tells us the following: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
The context of I Corinthians 11:3 is not the source of man or woman, but rather the authority structure God has created.
But after showing the Egalitarian argument to be faulty, we must now address the Complementarian argument. Complementarians believe in male headship but they limit it to the home and the church. They do not believe male headship over women extends to all areas of society.
The problem for Complementarians is that nothing in the language of verse 3, or the entire discussion of male headship in I Corinthians limits the man’s headship to just the home and the church. It is a broad and sweeping statement of man’s headship over woman.
Is God the Father the head of Christ in all things? Is Christ the head of man in all things? How then can Complementarians claim that men are only the head of women in the home and in the church but not outside those two areas?
And then we must consider the practical implications of the Complementarian attempt to limit man’s headship over woman to just the home and the church. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:24 (KJV) “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”. So, this presents a problem for Complementarians who believe women may take authority over men as long as it outside the home or church.
Let’s take a man and his wife. His wife runs for mayor of their town and she wins. So that means if he were to go to a town hall meeting where his wife is presiding, she now becomes his authority in that sphere. But yet God calls her to submit to her husband in everything. That means in every part of her life. The only exception to her submission to him is the rule the Apostle Peter gave us in Acts 5:29 (KJV) that “We ought to obey God rather than men” if our earthly authority is violating God’s law in what they are asking us to do. The same would go for if his wife was his boss at work.
This is the conundrum the Complementarians run into when they attempt to limit the headship of man over woman to just the home and the church.
But I Corinthians 11:3 is only one part of the Apostle Paul’s answer as to why women should wear head coverings. Later in this passage Paul actually dives into a deeper “WHY” question.
WHY is Man the Head of Woman
God does not always tell us why everything is the way it is. But sometimes he does tell us why some things are the way they are. And in this case of head coverings God caused Paul to fully explain why man is the head of woman in all areas of this life.
Paul writes the following statements just a few verses down in I Corinthians 11:7-10 (KJV) after telling us man is the head of woman and he now explains why man is the head of woman: “7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have been in Complementarian churches’ where they basically take the attitude of “Well God had to put someone in charge, so he picked the man and we just have to accept that”. God did not flip a cosmic coin to decide if man was the head of woman or woman was the head of man. Man being the head of woman was God’s design before he ever created man or woman!
This passage I have just shown from I Corinthians 11:7-10 tells us why man is the head of woman. Man is the head of woman because man is “the image and glory of God” and “neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”. This is a simple and yet profound truth that will change the direction of every man and woman that reads it if they will only accept it and apply it to their lives.
Man was created to image God by living out his attributes and thereby bring him glory. Woman was created by God for man to serve man and bring man glory and in doing so she serves God and brings him glory as well.
And it is “For this cause”, because man is God’s image and glory and because of that woman’s head, that woman ought “to have power on her head because of the angels”. The “power on her head” is the head covering Paul is talking about in this entire first half of I Corinthians 11. When a woman wears a head covering, she is proclaiming to the world that she fully accepts God’s authority over her life and the fact that God has placed her under man’s headship in all areas of life whether that be in the home, the church or elsewhere. Such a woman who fully accepts what her head covering means would never seek to be in any position that would place in her in authority over a man.
Now that we have fully covered the Apostle Paul’s explanation of why women should wear head coverings, we will now dive into what the head covering is that he is referring to.
WHAT is the Head Covering for Women?
Paul gives his answer to what the head covering is in I Corinthians 11:5-6 (KJV) “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. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.”
The English word “uncovered” in verse 5 and the phrase “not covered” find their root in the negative form of the Greek word “Kalupto” which means “to hide or to veil”. So, Paul is saying when woman does not veil her head, she dishonors her head.
Paul goes on to use a cultural norm that the Corinthians would understand. For a woman to have her hair cut short (shorn) or have her head shaved would be for her to dishonor herself. Paul then goes on to explain where this cultural norm originated in I Corinthians 11:13-15 (KJV): “13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”
Man did not invent this cultural norm, but rather it came from the human nature God designed in man and woman. God put this knowledge into our original nature as human beings to know that long hair on a man is a disgrace, but long hair on a woman is her glory.
Paul talks about this original human nature, our original programming, which tells us right from wrong in Romans 2:14 (KJV): “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves”
In the garden of Eden God created Adam with a perfect male human nature and he created Eve with a perfect female human nature. These nature’s had God’s law directly written into them. Their original human natures told them things like assault, murder and theft were wrong. Adam’s original masculine human nature instinctually told him he needed to lead, protect and provide for his wife. Eve’s original feminine human nature told her she needed to submit to and serve Adam as his subordinate helper.
But both Adam and Eve did not listen to the perfect natures God gave them which told them what to do – instead they went against the perfect human natures they were given and they sinned against God.
From that point forward both human natures, the masculine and feminine, became corrupted by sin. Yet even in its corruption, our human nature can still tell us when something is right or wrong according to God’s law. Now before anyone misunderstands me – I am NOT saying our human natures (either masculine or feminine) are always right and that we can always trust them.
To know where our natures are right and where they are corrupt, we must look to our owner’s manual which is the Word of God. It tells us where our nature is wrong and has been corrupted by sin and where our nature is functioning as God designed it to.
The same thing goes for our culture. If what our culture condemns matches up with what God condemns and if what our culture promotes matches up with what God promotes then we can follow those things in our culture. But if what our culture condemns God approves and what our culture approves God condemns then we must disregard what our culture teaches in that area.
A Woman’s Long Hair is NOT the Covering
The woman’s long hair is “a covering” but it is not THE covering God requires when women pray or prophesy. Let’s apply the “long hair” argument to the passage we have already looked at below: “5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth without long hair dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman has not long hair, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her have long hair.”
Now let’s apply some basic logic.
A woman without long hair = a woman shorn (with short hair) or a woman with a shaved head.
Now let’s apply this to the passage again: “5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head shaven dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be shorn, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her have long hair.”
You can’t make a comparison by comparing something to itself. It is like saying “Eating ghost peppers is like eating ghost peppers”. But rather if you wanted to tell someone what eating ghost peppers is like, you might say “Eating ghost peppers is like putting gasoline in your mouth and lighting it on fire”. The comparison of lighting gasoline in your mouth might be a little exaggerated – but it communicates the point of what it is like when you eat ghost peppers. This is why we can confidently conclude that the veil that Paul exhorts women to wear while praying and prophesying is NOT a woman’s long hair. Paul is speaking of two coverings. One is the natural covering (veil) God wants women to wear which is their long hair and the second is the additional physical covering (veil) God wants women to wear over their natural covering when they are praying or prophesying.
Now that we have discussed why God wants women to wear a head covering and we have shown it to be a separate veil in additional to their natural veil we will now show according the Bible when women are to wear this second veil as a spiritual symbol.
WHEN Does God Want Women to Wear a Head Covering?
Before we give the answer as to when women should wear head coverings we need to have a discussion about prophesy since this along with prayer is a central theme of this passage on head coverings.
The English word prophesieth is a translation of the Greek word “Propheteuo”.
Propheteuo is one of those words that you really have to pay attention to the context it is used in. In certain contexts, it refers to someone supernaturally foretelling the future like Christ did in the Gospels or the Apostle John did in the book of Revelation and like the Apostle John these prophets were also ordained by God to speak and write his Word. But in other contexts,propheteuo simply refers to someone teaching, reproving or admonishing others based on the truths of God’s Word.
The Apostle Peter spoke of the prophecy of Joel being fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out on Christians in Acts 1:16-18 (KJV): “16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 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”
Peter is addressing both types of prophesy in this one statement. He talks about the young men seeing visions and old men dreaming dreams. That is exactly what happened to the Apostles and they wrote about the visions they had in the New Testament. But he also talks about “daughters” and “handmaidens” prophesying. So, what does he mean by this?
In I Corinthians 14:3 (KJV) we read the following statement about prophesy: “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
Before I explain this passage, I want to make two points. The first thing I want to say is that I love the KJV because even though it has a very old form of English, it is often the most literal rendering of the original text. But like any other translation of the original texts, it sometimes is either confusing because of the old English or it is not as precise as it should be. The second thing I want to say is that I can’t stand all these gender-neutral translations of the Bible. The fact is that the Bible is written in a very masculine tone because God’s nature is represented by the masculine human nature and translations should be faithful to that tone.
But sometimes in the Bible the language used is gender neutral and I Corinthians 14:3 is actually one those passages.
First, where the King James version says “he” as in “he that prophesieth” the Greek Word which is “ho” is actually gender neutral and it would be more accurately translated as “the one”.
Secondly when the KJV refers to hearers of the prophesy it calls them “men” but that is not as precise as it should be when used together with the gender neutral “ho”. The Greek word that is translated as “men” is “Anthropos”. This word can be translated as “man”, “men”, “mankind” or as “people” or a “person” depending on the context it is used in. It is a less precise word than the Greek word “Aner” which is specifically used to refer to male human beings in the Bible or to “gune” which specifically refers to female human beings in the Bible.
With all that being said I believe in this rare case the NIV actually is actually closest to the original meaning with one minor correction: “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
Where I think the NIV is wrong is in their use of the word “strengthening” where the KJV and other translations like the NASB translate the word as “edification” which is a better translation of the Greek word “Oikodome”. Even Thayer’s Bible dictionary states that Oikodome which literally means “the act of building up” also is used metaphorically to mean edifying or edification. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of edify means to “to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge”.
So, what is I Corinthians 14:3 saying? It is saying that “the one” (man or woman) that prophesies speaks to people (men or women) using the Word of God to instruct them, exhort them and comfort them.
The next verse, I Corinthians 14:4 (KJV) actually mentions the church: “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
Again we have the gender neutral “Ho” for which is translated as “He” and the gender neutral “Heautou” which can be translated as “himself, herself, itself or themselves” depending on the context it is used. And since it is used with the gender neutral “Ho” once again the NIV is the most accurate translation of this verse where it says: “Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.”
And on this subject of prophecy I want to mention one more verse which is found in Acts 21:8-9 (KJV): “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.”
So here is the point I have been building to with all these passages on prophesy. We who believe in the doctrines of Biblical gender roles cannot deny that God gifts some women with the gift of prophecy. And I do not mean the “foretelling of the future and writing God’s Word” kind of prophecy. I mean the kind of prophecy that edifies, exhorts and comforts people and edifies the church as the Scriptures say.
Acts 21:8-9 shows this to be true and the central passage we are talking about here – I Corinthians 11:5 which exhorts women when they prophesy to wear a head covering proves this to be true. I know that many Christian wives have been led astray by false female prophets of God only to see their marriages destroyed. I have had many men write me emails testifying to this fact. Far too many. And it would be easy to say women can never prophesy in any form or venue because we are afraid of false teachings. But gentlemen let me remind you all that women don’t have a monopoly on being false prophets. There are many male false prophets out there today as there have always been.
The Scriptures tell us that God gifts some women with the gift of prophecy so the question then becomes where can they use this gift to edify, exhort and comfort?
Some would wrongly say because I Corinthians 14:4 (NIV) says “the one who prophesies edifies the church” that women can instruct and exhort men in the Church. But such an interpretation ignores clear prohibitions against women teaching men in the Church such this one found in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV): “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, but to be in silence.”
And in the same chapter of I Corinthians that we have just mentioned with gender neutral language about people prophesying to the church we find this restriction on women once again in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV): “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.”
So how do we explain this? We are told in the Scriptures that prophesy edifies, exhorts and comforts all people and it also edifies the church and we are told that God gives this gift to both men and women. He even tells women when the prophesy to wear a head covering. Yet he tells women to remain silent in the church and learn from their husbands at home.
The answer my friends is found in Titus 2:3-5 (KJV): “3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
When we combine the fact that Bible says some women have the gift of prophecy which includes edification, exhortation and comfort along with this passage we have a clear picture of God’s vision for women. God gifts some women with the ability to be able to edify and exhort other WOMEN “to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands” and to comfort them when they are in difficult situations.
Before I show you the final answer as to when a woman must wear a head covering according to the Scriptures, we need to understand one more point. When the Scriptures say “the one who prophesies edifies the church” this is not limited to a local church assembly of men and women together in a worship service.
The church, the body of Christ, is both universal and local. When you go down the street and see a physical church building and see Christians meeting there on Sunday mornings for worship that is a local manifestation of the body of Christ coming together for worship and instruction in the Word.
But then we have the universal body of Christ which includes all saints. There are many ministries which minister to the church on a universal level. A Christian radio show is an example of a ministry which ministers to the universal church. This blog ministry, BiblicalGenderRoles.com, is another example of a ministry which ministers to the universal church. And in this same way Christian women can have blogs which minister to the universal church and are specifically tailored toward women. Even on a local church level woman can have ladies Bible studies or ladies Sunday school classes where women with the gift of prophecy can exercise their gift within the bounds of God’s law.
But as I have said before on this blog – all ministries which are conducted by women, even by those women who have the gift of prophesy, must be done under the headship of man. If it is a single woman with no family that might mean she operates under the authority of the Pastor of her local church. If it is a woman with a Christian father and no husband then she operates under the spiritual authority of her father. And certainly, if a woman has a Christian husband then she operates her ministry to women under the spiritual authority of her husband.
And now we can finally answer the question of WHEN women are scripturally required to wear head coverings.
A woman should wear a head covering, a veil of some sort, during worship services because she certainly should be silently praying together with her local church during worship. Secondly, if a woman is prophesy to other women such as through a podcast or in person in a Sunday school class or a ladies Bible study, she also should wear a head covering.
What about prayer? Well if Paul were talking about prayer and did not mention prophecy then I would lean toward women must cover their head for prayer at any time. But since Paul is linking prayer and prophecy together as the occasion, and we know prophecy can only occur in a church ministry setting (either to the local or universal body) then I believe his command was for women to veil is when they are ministering to the local or universal church. A woman who teaches Sunday school should veil before she opens the class in prayer. A woman who does podcasts to other women and prays and teaches other women should veil as she prays during their podcasts. But if a woman is silently praying at home on her couch, or doing bed time prayers with her children, I do not believe she is required to veil in those instances. Those times are not ministering to church, but rather those times are her ministering to her children.
The “All Times” Argument
Before I conclude I wanted to address the “All Times” argument as to when Christian women should wear head coverings. There are some Christians like the Amish, Mennonites and Anabaptists and others outside those denominations that believe women are to wear head coverings at all times.
Their argument is that the prayer Paul is referring to is not limited to that which occurs in the context of church ministries like worship services or other women’s ministries outside the worship service setting. And they point to 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) which exhorts all Christians to “Pray without ceasing” to say that since Christian women should be in a constant state of pray that they should always have their head coverings.
The Biblical command to “Pray without ceasing” is like the Biblical command for us as Christians to be “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” in Hebrews 10:25 (KJV). In the same way the call to not forsake assembling within our local church bodies does not mean we must be at church 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so too the call to pray without ceasing does not mean we must pray 24 hours a day 7 days a week at all minutes of the day.
Taken together these commands are telling us not to stop the regular practice of meeting together in our local churches or of praying. We as Christians should have regular habits of praying and going to church. This the command of the Scriptures.
Otherwise if we took “pray without ceasing” the way some of these groups have tried to portray it – we could never talk to anyone else because we would be constantly talking to God and if we applied that to forsaking not the assembling of ourselves in the church we would never leave the church building or stop praying. That is not God’s will for our Christian lives. God simply wants prayer and church attendance to be a regular habit for all Christians.
I hope this study has been a blessing to you, I know it was for me as I studied this out again. I have believed in women wearing head coverings within the context of church ministry for many years but God really fined tuned this for me as I studied his Word on this subject once again.
So, we answered here from the Scriptures the three important questions when it comes to Christian women wearing head coverings. We answered the why, the what and the when.
The reason why God wants a woman to wear a head covering is because it is a public acknowledgement by that woman that man is the image bearer of God and man has been designated by God as the head of woman in all areas of this life. It is a testimony to all the people who see her as well as the angels who are watching that she acknowledges the male headship that God has placed her under and she would never seek to take authority over a man.
What is the head covering which God requires when women pray or prophesy? It is the second veil which God requires women to cover their heads with when praying or prophesying. The first veil God requires women to have is the one he naturally gives them the ability to have – and that is their long hair.
When should women wear their head covering or a second veil? Any time a woman prays or prophesies in the context of a local church setting, a ladies Bible study group in her home or even if she did an internet podcast.
As I conclude I just want to give one more “why” answer.
Why did the church abandon the teaching that women should wear head coverings? Why have so many pastors and other Christian teachers and writers gone to great lengths to say it was a “temporary cultural requirement” Even if they agree it is still required, they make the argument I have shown to be logically false that the woman’s long hair is the only covering Paul was talking about.
The answer is that Christian men over the last century or so gradually abandoned their God given headship over the women in their lives. And this leadership vacuum allowed for a poisonous ideology called Feminism to form. And Feminism since its inception has decimated God’s institution of gender roles and marriage and it brought the divorce rate from 3 percent to 45 percent causing more than 60 million divorces. Feminist ideology has also led to the deaths of over 60 million babies in abortion.
Whether it is their wives, their daughters or the women under their ministries in their churches most Christian men have neglected their duty in this regard. They now seek to appease women in their churches or marriages. They are more concerned with making the women in their lives happy than pleasing God.
If you are a God fearing, Bible believing Christian man or woman I ask you to pray for the men around you that God will give them the strength and courage to lead the women in their lives even it that may cause some momentary or even long-term unhappiness for them. I also ask you to pray for the women in your lives that they will have the courage to take a stand and if they do not have the two head coverings God requires for women (long hair and a veil for church ministry) that they will make this right before God and start doing what is right.
To listen to my 3 part podcast series on head coverings go to BGRLearning.com below:
Many Christian teachers teach that husbands and wives should be equally accountable to one another. We are told that neither the husband nor the wife should keep any information back from one another and that this complete transparency is the foundation for a healthy Christian marriage.
Before we get into the Scriptural arguments that proponents of this teaching make, we need to define what it means to be accountable.
Merriam-Webster.com defines “accountable” as “required to explain actions or decisions to someone”.
Dictionary.com defines “accountable” as “subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable”.
Now that we understand what accountable means we can discuss whether the doctrine of equal accountability between husbands and wives is founded in the teaching of the Bible or just the teachings of our culture.
The Husband and Wife are One Flesh
Christian teachers who teach equal accountability between a husband and wife base their doctrine on the following principle that God says a husband and wife are one flesh in marriage:
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” – Mark 10:7-8
So, the argument basically goes like this. If a husband and wife are no longer two, but one, then there should be nothing that one knows that the other does not.
The problem with this interpretation of the “one flesh” principle is that the oneness between a husband and wife is not a oneness of equals.
The Scriptures tell us that marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and Church:
“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 every thing.” – Ephesians 5:22-24
Are Christ and his Church equals? Absolutely not. One leads and one follows.
Is Christ accountable to his Church? Is Christ required to explain his actions or decisions to his Church? Absolutely not. Does he sometimes explain his actions? Yes, but he is not required to do so.
Is Christ answerable to his Church? Must he justify whatever he does to his Church? The answer again is absolutely not.
The language of Ephesians chapter five on the position of the husband to the wife is crystal clear. There is no gray area here. The husband is the head of the wife “AS” Christ is the head of the Church. Therefore, the husband is not in any way accountable to his wife even though he and his wife are one as the Church is one with Christ.
Does Responsibility Always Equal Accountability?
Does this mean a husband does not have any responsibilities toward his wife? Of course, he does!
After God addresses the duty of the wife to submit to her husband in everything, he addresses the responsibilities of the husband toward his wife:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” – Ephesians 5:25-29
There are several kinds of love in the Bible. There is an affectionate kind of love that is usually conditionally based upon what a person does for another. There is a family type of love that is instinctual which describes the love of a parent for a child or a child for a parent. There is a type of love that is sexually based. And then there is a love based in a choice and not feelings. This last kind of love is the one that is the strongest type of love and it is most often associated with God and his actions toward us. This is the kind of love God commands husbands to have toward their wives in Ephesians chapter 5.
Husbands are called by God to choose to love their wives by washing their wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God (teaching, correcting and rebuking them as necessary), they are to provide for their wife’s physical needs, protect their wife’s body as if it were their own and give their lives to save their wife’s life as Christ did for his Church.
But just because we have responsibilities toward someone does not always mean we are accountable to that person for how we fulfill those responsibilities.
For instance, a teacher is responsible to their students for teaching them the right materials they need to learn. But they are not accountable to their students for fulfilling those responsibilities, but rather their school leadership.
Another example would be parents. Parents have many responsibilities toward their children, yet they are not accountable to their children for how they fulfill those responsibilities.
But sometimes we are accountable to the person that we have responsibilities toward. We as both men and women have many responsibilities toward God and we are also accountable to him for how we fulfill those responsibilities. But women are also accountable to their husbands for how they fulfill their responsibilities to them as wives and mothers to their children.
Men and Women Were Created Unequal for a Specific Purpose
If a husband and wife were equal partners in marriage, like two equal partners in a business together then yes, they would be required to be completely transparent and there could be no secrets. All decisions would need to be made jointly and agreed upon together.
That is what the world, and sadly many Christian churches and teachers teach today – that marriage is an equal partnership between a man and a woman.
But the Scriptures are clear in multiple passages throughout the Old and New Testaments that marriage is not a partnership of equals, but rather it is a patriarchy or male lead relationship. And God did not just flip a coin as some people think “because someone had to be in charge”.
The Scriptures show us that marriage was purposefully designed the way it was as part of God’s larger plan shown in I Corinthians 11:
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:7-9
The passage above from I Corinthians that I have just shown you is one that you will not hear in most Churches today. Instead you will hear all the time how God made man and woman equally in his image.
Most Christian teachers today appeal to the Genesis account to teach that God made man and woman equally in his image:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” – Genesis 1:27
They teach “See it says male and female created he them. That means God created both man and woman equally in his image”. But is that really what that passage teaches? Does it say God created male and female in his image or does it just say that God created male and female? Read the passage again.
And while the Hebrew word for man (“adam”) can be mean mankind there are two reasons that we know it refers specifically to male human beings and not all mankind (men and women). The first reason is the key phrase “created he him” and this refers particularly to Adam, the man, the male. Therefore, we know that when it says he created man in his image, it is referring specifically to male human beings, not female human beings. The second reason we know he was not referring to creating both men and women equally in his image is because of Paul’s divine commentary from I Corinthians 11 that we have just mentioned. It clearly states that man is “the image and glory of God” and then uses “but” indicating that woman is NOT the image and glory of God. Woman is “the glory of man”.
So, it is NOT Scripturally accurate to say that men and women are equally created in God’s image or that God split his image between men and women.
And there is a reason man is created in God’s image and woman is not. Man was created by God to image him, or live out his attributes, and thereby bring him glory. Woman was created by God for man to help man in is primary mission to image God. It is not woman’s mission to image God, but rather it is her mission to help man in his mission to image God.
Man could not fully image God without being a husband and father. Therefore, God had to make woman to be his wife and the mother of his children. It really is that simple. A woman who fights to be equal with a man or one who is offended because she is not equal to a man is a woman who has a problem with God’s plan for her life.
The American Egalitarian Lie
I realize what I have just said here is extremely offensive to our culture’s modern egalitarian views. We are taught in America that everyone is equal and that men and women should have equal rights. And by extension we are taught that marriage is a partnership of equals where all actions and decisions must be discussed and agreed upon because men and women are equal.
The vast majority of Churches and Christian teachers have bowed to our egalitarian culture and in the process many Christian books and articles have been published over the last half century trying to make the Bible fit an egalitarian worldview. The primary passage that Christian egalitarians use to teach this view is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28
Christian egalitarians use Galatians 3:28 to cancel out the rest of the Bible in regard to gender roles. It really is a very faulty interpretation of the Bible. Christian Egalitarians ask us to believe the ridiculous notion that somehow Paul changed his mind about what he wrote in Ephesians 5:22-31 and he just canceled it all out with Galatians 3:28.
And we are also supposed to believe that the Apostle Peter did not get the memo from Paul because he wrote in I Peter 3:1-6 that women were to be in subjection to their husbands and show respectful fear to their husbands and follow Sarah’s example who obeyed her husband and called him lord.
This is why I have maintained for years that you have throw the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy out the door to be a Christian Egalitarian. There are not mistakes and no contradictions in the Bible. And the Scriptures interpret the Scriptures.
I Corinthians 11:1-6 is speaking about the purposes for which God created man and woman and man’s primary mission to image God. That is why men are not to wear a head covering for worship and prayer and women are. That is also why God is always referred to in the Bible in the masculine sense as husband, father and son. It is why Christ had 12 male Apostles. It is why the priests in Israel had to be male.
Ephesians 5:22-31 and I Peter 3:1-7 are speaking to gender roles in marriage as part of God’s larger plan for man to image God and woman to picture the people of God in her submission and service to her husband.
And finally, Galatians 3:28 has absolutely nothing to do with gender roles in this world or marriage. It is speaking to the subject of salvation! The Apostle Paul was saying men and women, Jews and Greeks, slaves and freemen could all be saved and be a part of the body of Christ.
But Accountability Keeps Us Out of Sin!
Some would argue that even though the husband does not have to be accountable to his wife, because he is her head as Christ is the head of the Church, that he still should be accountable to her to keep from sinning.
I think accountability partners are a great thing to have in our spiritual life. I have several of them where we confess to one another when we fail and try to encourage one another in in our walk with God.
The Scriptures give us the following admonitions that I believe support the concept of having accountability partners.
Accountability Partners Sharpen Our Character and Make us Better Christians
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” – Proverbs 27:17
Accountability Partners Give Us Someone to Confess Our Fault To
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – James 5:16
Accountability Partners Keep Our Secrets
“A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” – Proverbs 11:13
Accountability Partners Tell Us When We Are Wrong
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” – Proverbs 27:6
Accountability Partners Encourage Us to Keep Doing What is Right
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
So, yes accountability partners are a great thing for us all to have as Christians. But that then leads us to our next point.
Why A Husband Should NOT Make His Wife His Accountability Partner
So, after reading all of the previous passages you might be asking “Why should a man’s wife not be one of his accountability partners?”
There really are two reasons.
The first reason is that it undermines his authority by making him spiritually accountable to his subordinate. The reason a husband should not have his wife as an accountability partner is same reason a Pastor should not have one his members be his accountability partner. Accountability partners should ALWAYS be equals, and never subordinates.
The second reason a husband should not have his wife as an accountability partner is because of the simple fact that she is a woman. Men and women are different. We have very different spiritual struggles and very different natures. A man cannot fully comprehend or understand the spiritual struggles of a woman nor can a woman fully comprehend the spiritual struggles of a man.
That is why the Scriptures even encourage gender segregated spiritual mentoring:
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.” – Titus 2:1-6
So, again Accountability partners are great. But wives should not be accountability partners for their husbands because they are their husband’s subordinate and because they are women and cannot fully relate to the spiritual struggles of a man.
Why Women Want to Know Everything About Their Husbands
The Bible talks about women wanting to know everything about the people around them (which would include their husbands) and how they can get into trouble with this part of their nature:
“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – 1 Timothy 5:13-14
And just as marriage helps to keep couples from fornication (I Corinthians 7:2-5) so too we are told that marriage is the answer to keeping women from being tattlers, busy bodies and speaking things they ought not to.
In fact, the very first sin woman committed had to do with her seeking out knowledge that was forbidden to her (Genesis 3:6). But it is not just a woman’s lust for knowledge, but also her lust for power that drives her to make her husband accountable to her.
In the Genesis account we read the following:
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” – Genesis 3:16
And God’s statement to Eve mirrors what he said to Cain:
“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” – Genesis 4:7
So, as we can see, in the same way that Cain’s sin nature desired to control him, but he had to rule over it, so too a woman’s sinful nature causes her to try to control her husband, but he must rule over her.
Wives, It is Not for You to Know
How many TV shows have you seen where a woman breaks up with a man for keeping something a secret? And I don’t mean him cheating with another woman. I mean any secret. Women in our post-feminist culture have been taught that they can expect their men to tell them everything. Anything held back by the man from the woman is considered a breach of trust and could possibly end the relationship.
For Christian wives reading this – what would your reaction be if you asked your husband to read his email and he said “it is not for you to know”. What if you asked him for his password for his phone or social media accounts and he said “it is not for you to know”. If you are like most American women you would be infuriated. Because you have been brought up in a culture that teaches you that you are an equal partner with your husband in your marriage and you entitled to know everything he knows and everything about him.
What if your husband decided to lock you out of the bank and manage the finances completely on his own? Most American women would completely rebel. But do you know who says to his wife “it is not for you to know”?
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” – Acts 1:7
That’s right. It was Jesus Christ himself.
It is utterly amazing to me how many modern Christian teachers grab Ephesians 5:25’s statement“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” and then the just fill in whatever they think what that love means.
Modern Christian teachers teach that Jesus was a husband that lived to make his wife happy. But the Bible teaches that Jesus was a husband that lived to make his wife holy (Ephesians 5:26-27).
Modern Christian teachers teach that Jesus was a husband who never corrected his wife or tried to change her. But the Bible teaches us that Christ washes his wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God to make her the wife he wants her to be (Ephesians 5:26-27). It also teaches us that he rebukes and chastens his wife out love for her (Revelation 3:19).
Modern Christian teachers teach Jesus was a husband who was completely transparent with his wife and held nothing back from her. But the Bible teaches us that Christ does indeed hold things back from his wife and tells her there are things that are not for her to know (Acts 1:7).
Christian wives – I know a lot of the Scriptures and information I have given you here might be new to you. It might even be offensive to you. But it is what the Word of God teaches.
You will find absolutely no Scriptural support for a lot of what you hear and read today in Christian circles that basically teaches partnership marriage. Sadly, some Christian groups pretend that they teach male headship only to gut it making the man nothing more than a figure head leader.
This is not about a power trip. This is not about men hating on you as a woman or trying to make your life miserable. It is about God’s design.
So, what you need to do is follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul when he wrote:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2
You need to renew your mind. You need to unlearn the feminist and egalitarian teachings you grew up with in school and church and maybe even in your own family. That is tough process. It won’t be easy and it will take time. But if you yield to the Holy Spirit you can do it with his help.
Also, before I conclude with the men, I want to clarify something for you ladies on the subject of accountability partners. While I think it is great and valuable for women to mentor and be accountability partners with other women it needs to be the right kind of women. It needs to be a spiritual woman who will not contradict your husband’s spiritual leadership. In addition, you are still accountable to your husband as well because he is your spiritual head.
In practical terms, that means if your husband wants to know your passwords for your phone, email and social media accounts you must give it to him but he does not and I would argue should not give this same information to you. Why? Because as I said before he is your authority and you are his subordinate. He is responsible for monitoring and if necessary, correcting your behavior, but you do not have that same right and responsibility toward him.
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NASB)
The Bible does not just call you to be a figure head leader as some churches teach today, but it tells you that you are to be “One that ruleth well his own house” (I Timothy 3:4). You are to be a ruler, not just a leader.
Do not undermine your spiritual authority by making yourself accountable to your wife. Make yourself accountable to other good Christian men, but not your wife. But realize at the end of the day the one you are truly accountable to is Christ who is your head (I Corinthians 11:3).
You are the head of your wife as Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23). Your wife is not spiritually accountable for you to God, but rather you are spiritually accountable for her to God. You are tasked with teaching her (1 Corinthians 14:35) and washing her spiritual spots and blemishes with the Word of God (Ephesians 5:25-27).
And I encourage you to read Romans 12:2 as well and seek the renewal of your mind through the help of the Holy Spirit. You must unlearn what our American culture has raised you with and replace that with the truth of God’s Word. This is the only way you can truly fulfill your mission as a man to image God with your life and thereby bring him glory.
“Does the bible say anything about women being with men who aren’t followers of God? Is a man who doesn’t even believe in God still entitled to a submissive wife or am I now exempt from that?” – These questions and others were recently asked to me in an email I received from a newly married young Christian woman calling herself “D”.
“Hi there, If you don’t mind may I call myself “D?” I am a 27 year of woman and I have been quietly reading your blog for a while after I stumbled upon it while I was seeking out some answers online about my lifestyle. While I cannot say that I live a lifestyle that is completely working in tandem with the things you talk about, I do find your insight interesting and honest. I appreciate the thought and honesty even if I don’t always understand or want to agree with some of the things being said. If you don’t mind, I was wondering if you could help lend some insight on something that has been troubling me? I don’t really know where to go to find answers as it seems society throws people left and right, often even shaming people for wanting to understand.
I would like to start by explaining my lifestyle dynamic first so you can gain an understanding of where I am coming from. This might seem long and drawn out but stay with me, it’s sort of complicated. I do not attend church, well I have not committed myself to a church yet but I do go from time to time. I would consider myself a Christian, even if my choices didn’t always show that. While believing in God there has always been a somewhat liberal understanding of how things worked for me. As I grow older I realize how confused I really am, I was brought up one way, society tells me something else, while my heart yearns for more knowledge.
I have been happily married for 2 and 1/2 years, but here is where most Christians are going to frown down on me…
My husband doesn’t believe in God, we are intermixed in that way and I know that’s not the ideal circumstance! I will clear things up by mentioning it’s basically a mirror image of how my dad was, not believing in God while my mother did, it’s what is normal to me so I felt comfortable doing it. I wonder, did I mess up, am I wrong for this? I love my husband and I would NOT like to be one of the couples that ends up in a divorce due to our differences and arguing over stupid petty things. I hope that one day he can change his mind about God, I really have hope for that. Still in the back of my head I wonder am I wrong to be with him because of our religious differences, will we fail for this reason? I want to ensure that I won’t end up in a divorce, we really only fight about petty things for the most part.
Generally he tells me that “I don’t listen” or that “I argue with him too much.” His solution is just that I should do what he says. I feel that isn’t a reasonable for our situation for us though because our marriage isn’t exactly founded on those biblical principles, so why is he still asking for them? It frustrates me and even angers me sometimes.
Does the bible say anything about women being with men who aren’t followers of God? Is a man who doesn’t even believe in God still entitled to a submissive wife or am I now exempt from that? How do I deal with this? This is just such a strange situation and I don’t know what to do. Part of me says “I should do what he says so he is happy and we don’t fail in our marriage” while the other part says “well he is clearly wrong he doesn’t even believe in God, therefore he has no idea what he is talking about.” Also, I wonder which is worse for a Christian to be married to a non-Christian or for that couple to get in a divorce?
I would like to thank you for your time, I hope this didn’t sound too confusing. I know that you base most of your dealings with couples who are both Christians but it would mean a lot to me if you could look into my situation as well as it has been eating a way at me for a while now. If you’d like to use my story as a concept for your blog, I would be okay with that too. I wonder if there are other people struggling with my situation.”
Below are the answers to D’s concerns.
The First and Most Important Question Is Are you a Christian?
D’ Statement of her faith:
“I would consider myself a Christian, even if my choices didn’t always show that. While believing in God there has always been a somewhat liberal understanding of how things worked for me. As I grow older I realize how confused I really am, I was brought up one way, society tells me something else, while my heart yearns for more knowledge.”
I have said many times on this blog that the most important doctrine of the Bible and really the most important question of life is this:
Have we truly accepted the one true God, the God of the Bible and his Son Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior believing that he died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day?
So, if you cannot answer with a clear and resounding yes to that question I encourage you to reach out in faith to God today and place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ today as your Lord and Savior.
The Gospel is NOT the Only Important Doctrine We Need to Accept
Just because the Gospel is the most important doctrine in the Bible does not mean it is the ONLY important doctrine in the Bible. Many Christians and Churches today falsely believe that if they are preaching the Gospel and the Gospel alone that they are doing all God requires. They believe everything else should be left alone for each individual Christian to figure out on his or her own. But God did leave us to wonder on our own as believers and the Scriptures tell us he gives us teachers to teach us in his Word:
“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”
Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV)
While the office of Apostle was temporary to start Christ’s Church and true Prophets will probably not appear till the end of days we do today still see God call men to serve him as evangelists, pastors and teachers. I believe God has placed a calling on my life to be a teacher of his Word and this how I minister to his people through this blog.
The Bible also tells us that husbands are to be spiritual teachers of their wives:
“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.”
1 Corinthians 14:34-36 (KJV)
The Scriptures exhort husbands to follow Christ’s example and wash their wives with the Word of God and again this requires teaching, correction and sometimes rebuke:
“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)
Also, Christ when speaking to his Churches of which the Bible pictures him as their husband stated this:
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Revelation 3:19 (KJV)
Having started with this as our foundation, let us now move on to questions for true believing Christian wives who are living with unbelieving husbands.
Which is worse for a Christian to be married to a non-Christian or for that couple to get in a divorce?
There are three ways a Christian could end being with an unbelieving spouse:
They were not a Christian when they married and neither was their spouse. Then they became a Christian after marriage.
A Christian marries another person who claims to be a Christian but the person reveals later that they never truly were a Christian.
A Christian willfully and knowingly marries a non-believer.
There is no sin on the part of a Christian who ends up with an unbelieving spouse because of the first two scenarios. However, if a Christian knowingly marries a non-believer than that Christian has a committed a sin against God according to the following passage:
“14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (KJV)
However, the Scriptures tells us this if we find ourselves with an unbelieving spouse (not matter the circumstances of how we came to that position):
“13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace…
39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”
I Corinthians 7:13-15 & 39 (KJV)
So here is what the Apostle Paul is stating by the inspiration of God in the above passage. If a man or woman find themselves with a spouse that is not a believer and that unbeliever wants to stay married to them they must stay in that marriage. However, if the unbelieving spouse wants to depart then they may let them depart and the believing brother or sister are not bound to that marriage in those cases.
When we look at verse 39 in the context of verses 13-15 of this chapter as well as passages like Exodus 21:10-11 then we understand that if a Christian woman’s unbelieving husband provides her with food, clothing, shelter and sexual relations and he wants to remain married to her she is bound to him for life and may not leave him.
So, if your unbelieving husband matches that criteria – you cannot leave him. You are bound to him for life.
So, even if you willingly married a non-believing husband (which was a sin) if you divorce him without just cause that God allows for you are compounding that sin and doing something even worse. The fact is God can forgive you of the sin of marrying a non-Christian and he may even use you to win him to Christ as we will talk about in the next section.
Is a man who doesn’t even believe in God still entitled to a submissive wife or am I now exempt from that?
The Bible directly answers this question of yours in the following text:
“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
I Peter 3:1-6 (KJV)
So, the Scriptures tell you as a Christian woman to do something that very much goes against your sin nature. If your husband is doing something your believe is disobedient to God whether it is how he conducts various aspects of his personal life or even how he treats your or your children your sinful response is to try and correct him, rebuke him and then free yourself from his authority.
But the Scriptures tell you to attempt to win your husband into obedience to God whether by accepting Christ as his savior or getting his life right with God if he is a Christian. It tells you to win him without the word, without preaching at him and instead win him by your subjection to him, your living a pure life before him and your reverencing him.
The False Teaching that I Peter 3:1-6 Only Applies to Unbelieving Husbands
The key phrase “if any obey not the word” refers to husbands who are disobedient to the Word of God. This would cover unbelieving husbands who “obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8) as well as those husbands who claim Christ as their savior but are disobedient to his Word in various ways.
I have heard many Christian women say “if any obey not the word” is strictly speaking about unbelieving husbands and does not apply to Christian husbands who are disobedient to the Word in various ways. So, they literally try and have us believe that I Peter 3:1-6 does not apply at all to wives married to Christian husbands and they have thereby nullified the Word of God. In other words, they believe if their Christian husband is disobedient to God in his lifestyle in anyway they deem too serious they have the right to free themselves from his authority. His spiritual authority in their view is now forfeit.
The problem with this interpretation is that verse 5 blows it out of the water:
“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
After Peter describes the type of submission that wives are to have to their husbands who are disobedient to the Word he then writes a key phrase “For after this manner” and then he goes on to talk about the holy women of old times like Sara who obeyed Abraham calling him lord. Was Abraham an unbeliever? We know he was not an unbeliever as the Bible presents him as a man who “believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3).
Therefore, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt based on the full context of this passage that the phrase “if any obey not the word” absolutely applies to both unbelieving as well as believing husbands who are disobedient to the Word of God.
Can My Unbelieving Husband Demand My Submission to Him?
Another false teaching among egalitarians and sadly even most complementarians today is that a husband (whether he is a believer or not) cannot in any way compel his wife’s submission to him. In fact, that is why most complementarians in our modern times reject a husband’s authority to discipline his wife for her failure to submit to his authority. They teach the Biblical submission of a wife to her husband is completely voluntary and the part of the wife and this should not be any concern of the husband.
This false teaching comes from a faulty understanding The Greek word hupotasso which is translated as “submit”, “subject”, “subjection” and “obedient” in our English translations of the Bible.
This is the definition of hupotasso according to Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary:
“to arrange under, to subordinate
to subject, put in subjection
to subject one’s self, obey
to submit to one’s control
to yield to one’s admonition or advice
to obey, be subject
A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”.”
So, like many words in the Bible, the context in which hupotasso is used determines if it is a voluntary attitude of giving in and cooperating with someone who is an equal verses the military use of the word which is an involuntary submission to one’s authority.
In Ephesians 5:19-24 we read the following:
“19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, 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. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
If you notice above I have put a separation in the text between verses 21 and 22. In the NIV and many modern translations they will be put a separation between verses 20 and 21 and the NIV even puts a note above verse 21 making it seem as though verse 21 is speaking to the husband wife relationship.
Again, just like we discussed with I Peter 3:1-6 context is key. Here in Ephesians 5:1-21 Paul is speaking to Christians in the Church in general about holy living. He then ends his general call to holy living for Christians with a call for Christians to submit to one another – this is not the military type of submission of one under authority to another, but it is the voluntary submission of equals serving and cooperating with one another.
Then he turns to the subject of marriage and the family in Ephesians 5:22.
First and foremost you will never find one passage in the Scriptures that tells a husband to submit to his wife. Not one. You will see egalitarians try and throw smoke up about God telling Abraham to listen to Sarah regarding Hagar (Genesis 21:12). But this was not God telling him to submit to his wife, but rather for him in this instance to act on her advice. Nothing in the Scriptures forbids wives from making requests of their husbands and giving them advice. And sometimes God will lead us as Christian husbands to act on our wife’s advice but this is not a husband submitting to this wife. This is no different than a King who grants the request of one his servants or follows the advice of one his advisors.
So how do we know what kind of submission it is that God calls wives to regarding their husbands? The found in the words surround the call for wives to submit to their husbands. First in verse 22 God calls wives to submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord”. In no other passage of Scripture do we find God calling someone to submit to a human authority as unto God. But only in the husband wife relationship do we see this comparison. Verse 23 further bolsters this by telling wives that their husbands are their head as Christ is the head of the Church and then in verse 24 he tells wives to submit to their husbands as the Church is to submit to Christ in everything.
So which kind of submission is God calling for? The voluntary type of serving submission between equals or the military type of submission where one is called to submit to and obey the one in authority over them? The answer is clear and indisputable. God is calling for the military type of submission from a wife toward her husband.
When egalitarians and even complentarians say that a wife’s submission in this passage is the voluntary submission between equals they are breaking the model that is being setup here. God is basing a wife’s submission on the model of our obedience to him and the Church’s obedience to Christ. Are Christ and the Church equals? We know they are not. Christ is the authority of the Church and he demands his Church’s obedience to him.
Therefore, we can say beyond a doubt that the submission that God calls wives to toward their husbands is the military type of submission which is mandatory. And just as commanders in the military must be concerned with and compel the submission of those under their authority so too husbands must compel their wife’s submission to them.
A husband who refuses to compel his wife’s submission to his authority is just as delict in his duty before God as the wife is who refuses to submit to her husband’s authority. They both are failing to model the relationship of Christ to his Church where he compels the obedience of his Church and the Church submits herself to Christ.
You stated this regarding your unbelieving husband’s insistence that you stop arguing with him so much and simply do what he tells you to do:
“Generally he tells me that “I don’t listen” or that “I argue with him too much.” His solution is just that I should do what he says. I feel that isn’t a reasonable for our situation for us though because our marriage isn’t exactly founded on those biblical principles, so why is he still asking for them?”
Based on all the Scriptures I have presented to you in this article I hope you realize that your husband’s motivation for asking for your submission is irrelevant in God’s view. God wants you to submit to him whether he asks for your submission or not. Your husband may want you to submit for totally selfish reasons but God wants you to submit to him, not to make him happy, but for two reasons. The first is just as I Peter 3:1-2 states that you may be able to win him to Christ by your submission, pure life and reference for him. The second is that by submitting to him you fulfill your role to model the Church’s obedience to Christ even if your husband is not fulfilling the role of loving you as Christ loves his Church.
So, D – you should absolutely listen more, talk less and don’t argue with your husband. It is one thing to give him respectful advice or make a request and let him decide what to do. It is another to argue with him. D – do you realize how if you completely changed your attitude on this and truly just talked less and submitted more that this change could cause your husband to inquire of you what happened? Then you could share with him how God changed your heart on this matter and that God showed you he wants you to submit to your husband and serve him as the Church submits to and serves Christ.
This will also remove a lot of your frustration. Because then you will realize this is not about you. This is about Christ. In way you are being just as selfish as you believe your husband is being. You are making your marriage about you. It’s not about you and your personal happiness. It’s about God and his plan for your life. Your service and submission to your husband is your service and your submission to God.
I pray that you and all Christian women who read this and who live with disobedient husbands will humble themselves today and truly submit to their husbands as unto the Lord.
Women in general and even women who consider themselves strong feminists showed the same preference for sexist men over egalitarian men according to five studies carried out by scientists from the University of Kent and Iowa State University. It turns out that no matter what political or philosophical background they come from, women prefer the muscular guy with money who opens doors for them to the weak and skinny egalitarian dude that will treat them just like one of the guys.
And in other breaking news a new study confirms that water is wet. Ok that second study was fake. But you get my point. Anyone who lives around women, works around women or has sisters knows what these studies concluded is just common sense. Yes, there are those rare women, feminist or otherwise, that actually prefer the weak and skinny egalitarian dude that treats them like one of the guys but most women don’t operate that way.
Below are some conclusions the study found according to an article from the dailymail.co.uk:
“Benevolent means well-meaning or kind, and experts define the sexism as men who, for example, think women are more delicate or should be cherished or looked after by a man.
This is different to hostile sexism in which women are degraded, such as saying a woman’s place is in the kitchen.
Sexist attitudes were the norm for decades, particularly after the Second World War, and saw men as breadwinners and women as homemakers.
But this has shifted in recent years as gender attitudes change, more women focus on their careers, and couples increasingly share their parenting duties…
Women are more attracted to men who are sexist because they think they are more willing to protect them, provide for them and commit to a relationship, scientists say. Men who are considered to be sexist in a well-meaning way – for example if they are chivalrous or think women need a man to protect them – may be more attractive.
Even though women find these men patronising and can feel undermined by them, they are more likely to want to couple up with them than with men who don’t give them special treatment. Researchers say women may be hard-wired to think the benefits of being with a kind but sexist man outweigh the downsides.
The scientists maintain that, despite romantic and flattering elements of the relationship, even well-meaning sexism reinforces the idea women are inferior. And even women who consider themselves strong feminists showed the same preferences in the study by British and US researchers…
In the study, women’s attraction to this willingness to invest is traced to a more basic hard-wired survival instinct, in which females choose mates in order to improve their children’s chance of survival.
A male who is more likely to be protective or provide food for the family would improve the chance of offspring surviving, the study explains.
This may have in turn shaped women’s psychology to make them subconsciously prefer men who are a bit sexist.”
The Great Lie of “Sexism”
In our American as well as other western cultures today, we are taught a great lie. We are taught that if a person believes that someone’s gender determines what roles they should or should not perform in society that this person is holding an immoral belief. The term “sexist” was coined in the late 1960’s by feminists and was employed as a scarlet letter of sorts to shame and ostracize anyone who held to such “unequal”, “outdated” and “unfair” beliefs about gender.
In fact, another word “misogynist” was used to ratchet up the heat on those who held to such “ancient” beliefs. If you were a sexist, then you were also a misogynist or hater of women. This same tactic was used in all kinds of social movements to paint anyone who believed in any different rights or privileges for anyone of any kind as being a “hater” of that group.
For instance, in 2018, we are told that if you believe both illegal and legal immigrants who are not United States citizens should not have the same rights and privileges as US citizens then you are a called a hater of immigrants.
But God’s Word shines a light on this great lie that believing men and women should have different rights and responsibilities somehow is hatred of women or immoral. The belief that women should be “Barefoot and pregnant” or in other words get married, bear children and be homemakers is clearly backed up by the Bible:
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
1 Timothy 5:14 (KJV)
Were Sexist Attitudes the Norm Only After World War II?
“Sexist attitudes were the norm for decades, particularly after the Second World War, and saw men as breadwinners and women as homemakers.” Really? Every time I see statements like this it makes me laugh. The reason it makes me laugh is because of this myth that people teach today that somehow these “sexist” views of men and women were somehow new after World War II.
For the entire history of mankind these were the roles that societies across the world cast men and women into. Were there exceptions to this rule? Yes. Did some women have higher educations and careers throughout history? Yes. In other cases, did many women help their husbands out on their family farms or other such family businesses? Certainly. Were there families that were so destitute that the woman was forced to go and work away from the home while the children were cared for by another family member? Absolutely.
But the point is that this was not seen by society as the ideal to strive for. Societies across the world prior to the Second Wave feminism of the 1960s very much held what we call today a “sexist” belief that men are to be providers and women are to be homemakers.
Three Different Kinds of Sexists
These studies came up with two categories of sexist men. One they labeled as a “Hostile Sexist” and the other as a “Benevolent Sexist”. I actually agree with them that there are multiple categories of sexist men but I would expand it to three categories of sexist men as opposed to just the two.
The Hostile Sexist Man
This study says that a man has hostile sexist views toward women if he believes “a woman’s place is in the kitchen”. The truth of the matter is that God’s Word reveals that the “kitchen”, or in other words the caring for the food needs of the home, does in fact belong to the woman as we see in the passage below:
“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”
Proverbs 31:15 (KJV)
So, if believing in different roles for men and women is not the Biblical definition of being a hostile sexist what is? We can find the answer by looking the follow passages for the answer:
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.:
I Peter 3:1 (KJV)
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”
Colossians 3:19 (KJV)
As we can see according to the Bible, a hostile sexist man is one who dishonors and has bitterness toward women.
Now Christian feminists would seize upon those two words “dishonors” and “bitterness” to fill in their own definitions. I have been accused by countless readers of showing dishonor toward women and being bitter at women. But it is not dishonoring to women to teach what God teaches about women. It is not dishonoring to women to teach that God did not give men and women equal rights and equal responsibilities.
It is not showing bitterness toward women to share of the hurts that I have suffered at the hands of my first wife when she committed adultery or my second wife when she has sexually denied me or disrespected me based on her feminist background. It is no more bitterness toward women to share of these hurtful things women do toward their husbands than it is for a woman’s site to share stories of emotional or physically abusive husbands.
I have actually warned men on this site many times not to allow their hurt or even righteous anger toward sinful behavior on the part of their wives to turn into bitterness. I have had men come through this site throughout the years and display actual hatred toward the female sex and I have condemned such hatred.
The truth is that all these false accusations of me hating women is just a cop out on the part of my detractors. These false accusations are what is called “ad hominem attacks”. This is when someone attacks the person presenting a belief or an argument rather than the belief or argument itself. These kinds of false attacks actually display the weakness of those who oppose the beliefs I espouse based on the Bible.
Believing in gender roles and hating feminism does not equate to being hostile toward or hating women. This is part of the great lie we are told today and as Bible believing Christians we must combat this lie with the Word of God.
The Benevolent Sexist Man
The studies we are discussing defined the benevolent sexist man as one who is “well-meaning or kind, and experts define the sexism as men who, for example, think women are more delicate or should be cherished or looked after by a man”.
This Benevolent Sexist man displays no hatred toward women but on the contrary he practically worships women.
But is this behavior what the Bible calls for on the part of men toward women? The answer is no. Some might respond with the question “Doesn’t the Bible tell men to cherish their wives?” Yes, it does. It is absolutely true that the Bible commands husbands to cherish their wives as we see from the Scripture passage below:
“28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)
In the minds of most women today to cherish means to worship. That really is the whole idea of romance. Romance is about a man making a woman’s happiness the central focus of his life. How many songs do we hear where men say things like “you’re the meaning in my life, you’re the inspiration”.
It is absolutely intoxicating for most women to hear men tell them that they can think of nothing but her. They only have eyes for her. Women love it, they just eat it up when a man tells them that their happiness is his most important goal in this world.
But the truth is that this is NOT what the Bible is saying when it tells men to cherish their wives.
When the Bible tells men to cherish their wives it is telling them to protecttheir wives. When it tells them to nourish their wives it is telling them to providefor their wives’ physical needs. So yes, the Bible tells men to be providers and protectors of their wives but it never tells them to worship their wives or make their wives happiness the central focus of their lives.
This study reveals that women are attracted to these benevolent sexist men and why wouldn’t most women be attracted to men like this? If a woman were to find a man who wants to provide for her, protect her and worship the very ground she walks on why would she not be attracted to this from a human perspective? Having someone who wants to be our servant, do whatever makes us happy and provide us with a house, food, clothes, money and also protect us from those who would do us harm would be attractive to many women and men for that matter.
A lot of Christian husbands today are actually benevolent sexists in how they date and in how they conduct themselves as husbands once they marry. It is not wrong that they feel a duty to provide for and protect their wives. It is not wrong that they want to display kindness toward women in general or their wives in particular. Those traits are good traits that we as Christians should honor in men. But where these benevolent sexist Christian men fail is in worshiping their wives and making their wife’s happiness the central focus of their lives.
A Word on Fake Benevolent Sexist Men
Before I continue to the third type of sexist man we need to recognize the reality of men who fake being benevolent sexists. The truth is that many men while dating will play the part of the benevolent sexist only to reveal later on that they are actually a hostile sexist. A lot of men know that worshiping a woman is the key to getting sex from her. They have their mission, so they size her up and they do what it takes to get to their goal. Some of these men go for the one-night stand where they worship a woman all night long acting like they want a long-term relationship only to disappear in the morning. Others will see the relationship through until marriage and then after marriage their true hostile sexist mentality is revealed. And just as a side note – there are men that fake being egalitarians too just to get in the ladies’ pants. There are myriads of these men in Hollywood and across America.
The Biblical Sexist Man
The Biblical sexist man believes very much like the genuine benevolent sexist man that God wants him as a man to provide for, protect and commit to a woman in marriage. He also believes God calls him to be kind and compassionate toward women in general and especially his wife in particular.
This Biblical Sexist man does not act in hateful ways toward women as the Hostile sexist man neither does he engage in woman worship as the Benevolent sexist man does.
The Biblical sexist man worships God alone and at the same time shows proper love and honor toward his woman not only by providing for her and protecting her by also by leading her as Christ does his Church and teaching her and correcting her by washing her spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God.
He knows that to worship his woman or make her the central focus of his life would betray the purpose for which God made him, women and intimate relationships between men and women.
The Scriptures tell us God’s purpose in making male human beings in the Genesis account:
“26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. “
Genesis 1:26-27 (KJV)
The Apostle Paul gives us divine commentary from God further elaborating on the Genesis creation account:
“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…7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
I Corinthians 11:3 & 7-9 (KJV)
Paul points out to us that God created man to be his image bearer and he created woman to help man in playing out his image bearer role. Man could only fully image God by being a husband and a father. This is why God created woman and marriage to help man fulfill this task. God shows us this purpose in marriage the same chapter that tells men to cherish(protect) their wives:
“22 Wives, 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. 24 Therefore 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; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
Ephesians 5:22-28 (KJV)
God created marriage so that man and woman could model the relationship of God to his people and thus this would help man to fulfill his purpose to image God. God wants husbands to love their wives as he loves his people. He wants men to sacrificially love their wives, he wants them to teach and correct their wives and so wash their spiritual spots and blemishes with the Word of God. He wants men to care for their wives as they do their own bodies by protecting them and providing for them as they would their own bodies.
God also wants women to submit to and serve their husbands as mankind is to submit to and serve God. A wife’s mission is her husband, her children and her home. In regard to her husband, her mission is to help him fulfill the mission God has given to him.
The Biblical sexist man knows that to make his wife’s happiness the central focus of his relationship with her would be to betray his purpose to image God as a husband to his wife. He knows that he must lead her, teach her and correct her and this will not always make her happy. He also realizes that as part of his leadership of his wife he must teach her to live out the truth that God made him to serve God by imaging him and he made her for him to help him in his mission.
In other words, one of the greatest duties a Biblical sexist man has in his marriage is to teach his wife that their marriage does not revolve her desires and her happiness. Instead every Biblical sexist husband must teach his wife that he is to focus on his mission to image God and she is to focus on her mission to serve him and help him in his mission.
The Biblical sexist man also knows though that while his relationships with his wife and children are vital parts of his overall mission to image God they are not all God has for him to do. God is not just a husband to his people or a father to his children but he is also an inventor, a builder, a teacher, a worker, an artist, a writer, a warrior and a ruler. So too God calls men to be in these different roles and in doing so they image him. The Scriptures tell us the following concerning men and their work:
“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
Genesis 3:15 (KJV)
“Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.”
Psalm 104:23 (KJV)
“Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion…”
Ecclesiastes 3:22 (KJV)
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
Colossians 3:23 (KJV)
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.”
Psalm 90:17 (KJV)
Reclaiming Sexism For Christ
To often we as conservatives and Christians allow liberal Christians and non-Christians to define the language of our discussions. Leftist and secularists are masters of taking words and twisting them for their perverted purposes. Take the word “gay” which at one time simply meant “happy”. This word was hijacked to represent homosexual men.
Some may be shocked at the title of this section “Reclaiming Sexism For Christ” because in our culture we associate Sexism with bad behavior. But we as Christians serve a God who is in the business of reclaiming things for his purposes. The cross was once a symbol of shame yet Christ took it and made it a symbol of hope and salvation. Even the term “Christian” was once used as a derogatory term in labeling followers of Christ. But again Christians took what was meant as badge of shame and made it a badge of honor.
In the same way we as Christians can redeem the Sexism and specifically the word “sexist” for Christ. When people say they can’t stand “sexists” that is our opportunity as Bible believing Christians to share with them the truth of God. I have actually done this on many occasions. I have told people in these conversations that I am a sexist but when I explain to them what kind of sexist I am and why believe what I believe from the Bible often times they have never heard the Scriptures I present.
In fact I was just at a dinner recently with family where I shared why I was a sexist and one woman was astonished at the Scriptures I presented. I explained to her that in no way do I hate women or ever want to see women as a gender demeaned or dishonored. I explained to her that we as men should honor our mothers and our wives as God commands. But I said I also believe that God created men and women for very different purposes. I told her that because I believe men and women should do different things based on their gender that makes me a sexist.
She asked “Why have I never heard these Scriptures in Church before?” And I told her because our churches have been infested with feminism and the vast majority of Pastors have simply bowed to our culture.
I told her that God calls us as Christians to live counter to the culture. He calls us to not conform to the patterns and thinking of this world but to be transformed by his Word. In this way I was actually able to use the term “sexist” as a way to teach the truth of God’s Word.
The fact that women are attracted to sexist men who are strong and can provide for them is not simply some hardwiring left over by evolution. As Christians we know this is by the design of almighty God.
The Bible tells us in I Corinthians 11:9 that “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”. Every part of a woman’s being was made for man and his benefit. Woman was perfectly created for her task by God. In doing this God created woman as “the weaker vessel” (I Peter 3:7) because God wanted her to need man’s strength as mankind needs God’s strength. God created woman to be beautiful and he created her to desire to be beautiful because God desires the beauty of his people (Psalm 45:11). He created her to be a companion and the bearer of his children.
God created every desire a woman has to help man fulfill his primary mission to image God. God planted in the female human nature her desire for the strength, protection and provision of man. He did this so that man could be the strong protector and provider to woman as God is the strong provider and protector to mankind. The man would desire to protect and provide for a woman and a woman would desire to be protected and provided for by a man. It was a beautiful and glorious picture that God meant to be painted. He setup the pieces perfectly.
But sin corrupted God’s plan for man and woman. Sin warped and twisted a woman’s desire for the strength, protection and provision of man into a desire to make men their servants, rather than their masters as God intended it to be. Instead of desiring to serve her husband and follow his leadership, her sin nature causes her to desire to control her husband (Genesis 3:16).
Application for Christian Men
Will you as a Christian man repent of any dishonorable behavior or bitterness that you have toward women as a gender or even particular women in your life?
Will you as a Christian man accept that your desire to protect and provide for a woman is not wrong but is in fact right in God’s eyes?
Will you as a Christian man accept that your desire to lead a woman and your family is not wrong but is in fact right in God’s eyes?
Will you as a Christian man stop being ashamed of your masculine nature and accept that this is in fact the image of God in you?
Will you as a Christian man accept that worshiping women is just as much a sin in the eyes of God’s as being hostile toward women?
Application for Christian Woman
Will you as a Christian woman accept all God’s design for you as a woman and not just the parts you like as in your attraction to strong men who are able to provide?
Will you as a Christian woman reject your sinful inclination to be worshiped by men?
Will you as a Christian woman reject your sinful inclination to be the center of your husband’s life?
Will you as a Christian woman accept that you were created for man and that he was not created for you?
Does the Bible condemn the practice of older men dating teenage girls? With the revelations in the news about Alabama Republican senate candidate Roy Moore having dated teenage girls decades ago when he is was in thirties this question has been raised amongst Christians.
Now let me be clear as a Bible believing Christian in regard to the sexual molestation accusations against Judge Moore. If it can be proven that Judge Moore engaged in any type of sexual touching or sexual relations with these woman outside of marriage that would be by definition fornication and something that the Bible clearly condemns.
But that is not the question I am discussing here. The fact is, even if Judge Moore did not engage in any extramarital sexual relations with any of these women there are many in our culture, including Christians, who would condemn him simply for dating teenage girls while he was in his early thirties and this is the question we will tackle in the article.
What is the minimum age for women to marry in the Bible?
There are two factors for determining a woman’s minimal age for marriage.
A woman must reach puberty first before she can marry
Two Bible passages, one from the Old Testament and one from the New indicate that the minimal age for marriage of woman is when she reaches puberty.
“7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.
8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.”
Ezekiel 16:7-8 (KJV)
In the passage above from Ezekiel we read of God’s love story with Israel. He presents himself as a wealthy man who finds an infant girl who had just been born and is left for dead in a field. He takes her as ward in his home and when she reaches puberty (grows breasts and pubic hair) he declares that “thy time was the time of love” and he takes her as his wife.
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul tells of a similar story of a man with a young woman who is his ward whom he has an attraction to:
“36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.”
I Corinthians 7:36 (KJV)
When it says “pass the flower of her age” it literally means “ripe” as when a fruit is ready to be plucked and eaten. Like Ezekiel 16:7-8 it refers to the fact that she has reached puberty and is now ready for marital love.
So according to both the Old and New Testaments a girl must first reach puberty before she can marry and when a girl reached puberty she was no longer considered a child but was now considered a woman.
A father determines at what age his daughter marries
There was a second factor in determining a woman’s age at the time of her marriage and we find this in the book of Exodus:
“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”
Exodus 22:16-17 (KJV)
Today our culture treats a father’s blessing for his daughter to marry as a cute tradition and nothing more. Fathers are expected to rubber stamp any man their daughter says she wants to marry because after all it is her life, her body and her choice right? Fathers have had their authority over whom their daughters marry completely removed. However, we can see in the Scriptures that this was not just some tradition but we see that God grants fathers the authority over whom their daughters may marry.
Now a word caution on this. A father’s authority over his daughter while being similar to that of a husband over his wife is different in some key aspects. A father’s authority is temporary. He is there to raise her and prepare her for her future husband. His authority and ownership over his daughter is not meant to be for life as a husband’s authority is meant to be for life. So if a father is inhibiting his daughter from marrying well into her adult life in order to keep her in his home he has failed in the role God has given him. He is sinning against God and his daughter by inhibiting his daughter from following God’s first command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).
The State has no authority over marriage
Many Christians mistakenly think that God has given civil government nearly unlimited authority. Most Christians think unless the government literally tells us to sin that they can pass any laws they want. They site passages like this to bolster their belief:
“13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
1 Peter 2:13-14 (KJV)
But they neglect the fact that Christ recognizes the concept of limited authority for civil government:
“They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
Matthew 22:21 (KJV)
Christ said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s”. That means “Obey the civil government in the areas that God has given to civil government”.
Romans 13:1-5 and 1 Peter 2:13-14 teach us that the role of government is to protect the people and punish evil doers according to God’s law. Search the Scriptures and you will find that the only authority God gives in marriage is to the family and specifically to the father. Of course we know that the father is still under God’s authority in regard to marriage and he must regard his ownership of his daughter as a temporary stewardship in preparing her for her future husband.
What this means in practical terms is state marriage licenses are not required by God. A marriage is valid in God’s eyes if a man has the permission of a woman’s father or if her father is gone and she is living on her own she consents to marriage. He can enter into a covenant of marriage with her in private and that marriage is just as binding in God’s eyes as if they had a public ceremony with a pastor or priest and state marriage license.
This also means whether states outlaw all marriage under the age of 18 or even 21 Christians may disregard such laws as the usurping of authority over the family by the civil government. Christians can and may practice civil disobedience against such laws.
How our culture mocks God’s laws
Julie Zauzmer, writing for the Washington Post recently published an article entitled “Roy Moore allegations prompt reflections on fundamentalist culture in which some Christian men date teens”. In this article she assembles a chorus of opponents of the practice of older men dating teenage girls.
Here are some excerpts from that article with people mocking God’s laws:
“That courtship of underage girls is especially common in conservative religious communities.
“We should probably talk about how there is a segment of evangelicalism and home-school culture where the only thing Roy Moore did wrong was initiating sexual contact outside of marriage. 14 year old girls courting adult men isn’t entirely uncommon,” Kathryn Brightbill, who works for the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, tweeted Friday, prompting a flurry of responses from other people who also had watched teenagers date much older Christian men…
Ashley Easter, who grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church where courting was the norm for teenagers, said, “That was the first thing I thought of with Roy Moore.” In her church community in Lynchburg, Va., Easter said, fathers had complete control over whom their daughters were allowed to date, and she could see how a father might set his teen daughter up with a much older man.
“A woman’s role is to be a wife, a homemaker and someone who births children. The man’s role is generally to be established and someone who provides the full income,” said Easter, who runs the Courage Conference for survivors of church sexual abuse. “It may take longer for a man to reach stability. While a woman of 15 or 16, if she’s been trained for a long time looking after her younger siblings, in their eyes she might be ready for marriage.” 
While regrettably I was not able to have my children homeschooled for a variety of reasons I do consider myself a part of that “segment of evangelicalism and home-school culture where the only thing Roy Moore did wrong was initiating sexual contact outside of marriage”.
Many of my friends growing up were homeschooled before they came to the Christian School I attended in high school. My parents homeschooled my niece and nephew who they adopted and I have cousins that have homeschooled their children as well. And yes I grew up in Bible believing fundamental Baptist churches that while being imperfect did teach that “fathers had complete control over whom their daughters were allowed to date” according to the Word of God. The sad thing is that many of these Baptist churches that formerly stood on the doctrines of Biblical gender roles have in recent decades abandoned these doctrines to appease feminists both inside and outside their churches.
What has been the result of the abandonment of courtship and the authority of the father over his daughter in regard to marriage? A massive increase in promiscuity among our young people who favor dating for fun instead of courtship for marriage. In many cases a huge delay of the marriage of young women well into their middle or late 20’s and a decrease in the size of Christian families. Young women are often more interested in their education and careers than in performing the main function God created them for which was to be wives and mothers.
Ashley Easter mock’s the fact that she was taught that “A woman’s role is to be a wife, a homemaker and someone who births children. The man’s role is generally to be established and someone who provides the full income”.
The sad part is Mrs. Easter growing up in a fundamental Baptist church knows the Scriptures actually support that very definition of a woman’s role that she mocks:
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
1 Timothy 5:14 (KJV)
The false “Child Marriage” narrative
I and other Christians who do not oppose marriage for women under the age of 18 are opposed to child marriage. But we are opposed to child marriage as God defines it in the Scriptures and not how our culture defines child marriage.
My readers know I am no stranger to writing on controversial topics especially as they relate to the Bible and marriage and I know on this subject I may have some disagreement from even some of my strongest supporters. But I would like you to truly consider something.
In the Scriptures we read:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Romans 12:2 (KJV)
What the Bible calls “child marriage” and what our culture calls “child marriage” are two different things. God says a girl is a child before she reaches puberty and that after she reaches puberty it “was the time of love” (Ezekiel 16:8) – in other words time for marriage. She was no longer considered a child, but was now considered a woman. God forbids men from marrying a young girl who has not “passed the flower of her age” (I Corinthians 7:36) or in other words a girl who has not reached puberty. She is still considered a child and is not eligible for marriage.
So yes if a man wants to marry some prepubescent girl he is in fact in violation of God’s law and that is “child marriage” we can all agree is wrong.
But our feminist and egalitarian culture has expanded the definition of how long girls remain children. Our culture has expanded childhood for girls past the onset of puberty all the way to age 18.
In an article entitled “Why can 12-year-olds still get married in the United States?”, Fraidy Reiss writing for the Washington Post states:
“Unchained At Last, a nonprofit I founded to help women resist or escape forced marriage in the United States, spent the past year collecting marriage license data from 2000 to 2010, the most recent year for which most states were able to provide information. We learned that in 38 states, more than 167,000 children — almost all of them girls, some as young 12 — were married during that period, mostly to men 18 or older. Twelve states and the District of Columbia were unable to provide information on how many children had married there in that decade. Based on the correlation we identified between state population and child marriage, we estimated that the total number of children wed in America between 2000 and 2010 was nearly 248,000.
Despite these alarming numbers, and despite the documented consequences of early marriages, including negative effects on health and education and an increased likelihood of domestic violence, some state lawmakers have resisted passing legislation to end child marriage — because they wrongly fear that such measures might unlawfully stifle religious freedom or because they cling to the notion that marriage is the best solution for a teen pregnancy…
Regardless of whether the union was the child’s or the parents’ idea, marriage before 18 has catastrophic, lifelong effects on a girl, undermining her health, education and economic opportunities while increasing her risk of experiencing violence.” 
Reiss throws in marriages as young as 12(even though the majority were age 15 or higher) to really get the hairs on the back of people’s necks up.
If you were to tell people in Biblical times that a girl did not become a woman until she was 18 they would have laughed so hard at you they would have fallen over. Let me give you a little bit of historical backdrop on this before we condemn twelve year olds marrying:
Rev. Dr. Eugene Weitzel stated this about the Jewish view of early marriage:
“As we noted above, the Jews clearly understood that the first command that God gave to Adam and Eve was “increase and multiply” (Gen 1:28). In fact one rabbi firmly believed that “A bachelor is not truly a man at all.” Furthermore, celibacy was looked upon as an anomaly, almost a disgrace. Now keep in mind that Jesus Christ, a devout, practicing Jew who dearly loved his Jewish faith, grew up with this view of celibacy. He also knew that his people believed in early marriage. Many rabbis, even during Jesus’s time, taught that eighteen was the ideal age for marriage for a man but certainly not later than twenty-four. He knew too that girls were ready for marriage as soon as they were physically ready to conceive and bear children, which according to the law was twelve and one-half years. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was probably no more than fourteen years old when she gave birth to the Son of God.” 
Lucien Deiss in his book “Joseph, Mary, Jesus” writes:
“How old could Mary have been? Young girls usually were betrothed as soon as they became a woman. It was believed they reached puberty at about twelve or twelve and a half. Boys it was believed reached the age if puberty a year later. Marriage could take place one year after puberty a year later. In general, it was held that men could wait until the age of eighteen or twenty before marrying so that they could have time to build a house and plant a vineyard.”
My point is that is highly likely from a historical perspective that Mary was betrothed to Joseph at 12 years old and most likely gave birth to Jesus by the age of 14. Now we know in the case of Mary that Jesus’s conception was of the Holy Spirit. But under normal circumstances young women were commonly giving birth to their first child by age 13 or 14.
So are we willing to condemn Joseph the father of Jesus for child marriage because he most likely betrothed Mary at such a young age? Worse yet are we as Christians willing to condemn God the Holy Spirit for conceiving a child in Mary at such a young age? Is God guilty of child abuse?
Reiss laments about the lack of nationwide state bans on marriage under the age of 18 “because they wrongly fear that such measures might unlawfully stifle religious freedom”. Sorry mam – but that is exactly what such restrictions on marriage would be – a stifling of religious freedom. But sadly I fear that Reiss and her allies may someday get such legislation passed. We have seen in the last 20 years an onslaught of legislation that assaults religious liberty whether in the form of taking parental rights or giving new rights to the homosexual and transgender movements.
Another Christian blogger who goes by the name “nickducote” wrote the following in an article entitled “Jonathan Lindvall and Child Marriage: The Maranatha Story”:
“Marrying girls off so early does several things. For one thing, it precludes them having other options. They have not finished their academic education and are not qualified for anything besides homemaking. And even then, what fifteen-year-old is truly ready to run a home in today’s world? For another thing, such early marriage means a girl marries before she has time to completely mature and form her own outlook on life. But then, sadly, that’s rather part of the point. This sort of arrangement, after all, functions not as an independent adult making her own decisions but rather as a property transfer—and it is explicitly stated as such.” 
While I disagree with his positions and his values I think this blogger has actually done a very good job of concisely saying what those who oppose marriage of young women really have a problem with. They have a problem with girls not having “other options”. They have a problem with women not being “qualified for anything besides homemaking”. They have a problem with a woman not having “her own outlook on life”. They have a problem with marriage being “a property transfer”.
I am not against women having an education nor do I think the Bible is. But our society has turned education – especially higher education and college into a human right. We have turned education into a false god that our culture worships. It is not a human right according to the Word of God.
Education is fine as long as it is a help and not a hindrance to the primary tasks God has given us to do. In the case of men education is often a help in one of their primary God given duties which is to provide for their families. Education can be a help to women as well in being able to homeschool their children in the future. But far too often education for women because more of a hindrance than a help to them pursuing their primary mission that God has given them.
A lot of women delay marriage for many years in the pursuit of higher education and often they are tempted to pursue careers before marriage. The result is a large amount of women marrying well into their mid to late 20’s past their prime fertility years. I wrote an article a few years back on this issue of women’s fertility entitled “Women’s ovaries don’t agree with Feminism” and I encourage you to read that article if you have not already.
It is not a crime against humanity if a woman does not receive a higher education or for that matter does not even finish high school and is only “qualified” for homemaking. This is one of the primary purposes for which God designed woman. A lot of Christians misuse Proverbs 31 to try and teach that God approves of the modern concept of a career woman while ignoring this key verse in that passage:
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”
Proverbs 31:27 (KJV)
How many career women actually look well to the ways of their household? How many career women instead barely cook for their families and leave their houses in disarray? How many are too tired to care for their children because they have dedicated all their energy to strangers outside the home? How many career women look at their husbands as their help meet instead of looking at themselves as their husband’s help meet?
The Proverbs 31 wife did go outside the home and buy and sell things but her focus was always on serving her home and her husband. That was the center of her life – that was what gave her life meaning and fulfillment. That is how she brought glory to both God and her husband.
Do women really need to form their “own outlook on life” before they marry?
God is portrayed as the potter to the clay in three different ways in the Bible.
In the New Testament God is portrayed in his sovereign creator role as the potter and individuals humans are the clay:
“20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”
Romans 9:20-21 (KJV)
We also see the children of Israel regard God as their father being their potter:
“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”
Isaiah 64:8 (KJV)
But there is a third role in which God pictures himself as the potter of the clay. It is as a husband to his wife Israel:
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:1-6 (KJV)
And for those that wish to challenge that this is God talking to Israel as his wife I challenge with this other passage from earlier in the book of Jeremiah:
“Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.”
Jeremiah 3:20 (KJV)
God literally equates “O house of Israel” with a wife who treacherously departs from her husband. If you look at how the phrase “O house of Israel” is used in other Old Testament prophecy books it is always used in the sense of Israel as a nation – the wife of God.
So if a Christian rejects the idea of a husband being able to mold his wife as the potter molds the clay from this analogy of God and Israel they do so only from a position of pride and a rejection of the husband/wife relationship as it is pictured in the Bible.
When Christians bloggers like nickducote say women need to form their own outlooks on life before marrying he is saying they should be firm in who they are and what they believe before they marry. The problem with this is that just as God wanted his wife Israel to be moldable to the way he wanted her to be – so too young women should be moldable to the way their husbands want them to be.
This does not mean a woman can never have her own opinions or even that young women cannot and should not have strong faiths even as young ladies before they marry. My daughter who will be turning 16 in a few months has a strong Christian faith. But I have taught her to keep herself moldable for her future husband and be prepared for the fact that he may see some things differently than I do as her father. I only have a temporary stewardship over my daughter and one day I will give her to the man that will be her husband for life. It is to that man, and not me that she must mold herself. It is with that man that she must become one flesh.
For decades Christians have done just as this blogger has recommended and encouraged women to have higher educations, form their own outlooks on life and ultimately marry much later. And what has the result been? We have produced generations of contentious and brawling wives as the Bible warns against:
“9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house…
19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”
Proverbs 21:9 & 19 (KJV)
Christian marriages now have the same divorce rates that non-Christian marriages have because we have rejected Biblical gender roles as taught in the Scriptures and Churches in mass have fully embraced modern feminist ideologies.
Is it wrong to view marriage as “a property transfer”?
Ever since Roe vs Wade and Second wave feminism the entire concept of a women belonging to men whether it be their fathers or their husbands was thrown out the window. Women for decades have chanted “it’s my body and I can do with it as I want” whether in reference to abortion or even in sexually denying their husbands.
While it may seem appalling to our feminist and egalitarian culture marriage is in fact classified as a transfer of property in the Bible. The Hebrew word used to speak of a woman getting married or being married or a man marrying a woman was the verb form the Hebrew “baal” which was literally “to be owned”. The noun form of the Hebrew word “baal” was used to describe a husband which was literally “owner”. See below this passage which described adultery and the penalty for it:
“If a man be found lying with a woman married[baal – verb] to an husband[baal-noun], then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”
Deuteronomy 22:22 (KJV)
So we could literally take the first part of Deuteronomy 22:22 and translate it as “If a man be found lying with a woman owned by an OWNER/MASTER…”
In Deuteronomy 24:1 where we read about divorce and the first part references marriage where it states “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her” this again uses the verb form of baal for marriage. It literally could be translated as “When a man hath taken a wife and owned her…”
Even Proverbs 31 which Christian feminists like to use to falsely teach that women can have careers and abandon their duties to the home to others shows the ownership of a husband over his wife.
“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband[baal – noun] doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”
Proverbs 31:10-11 (KJV)
So verse 11 of Proverbs 31 literally says “The heart of her OWNER/MASTER doth safely trust in her”.
My point is this blogger and many other Christians and non-Christians alike may not like it – but the Word of God frames marriage itself as an owner/owned relationship. When a man marries a woman he takes ownership of her. He becomes her master. Biblically speaking, marriage under normal circumstances is absolutely a transfer of property in the sense of a father giving away his daughter in marriage to her husband.
Now we know as Christians that a husband is not to abuse his position as his wife’s master but that he is to love her as Christ loves the Church and washes her spots and wrinkles as Ephesians 5:25-27 states. But husbands are the masters, the owners and the heads of their wives just as Christ is the master, owner and head of his church.
That’s just the Old Testament!
A lot of Christians and non-Christians alike will criticize any use of the Old Testament as a found for moral teachings especially as it relates to marriage. This is huge topic but I will just give you a few pointers that defuse the false argument that there is no more binding moral law in the Old Testament.
Jesus Christ said of the Old Testament:
“17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:17-19 (KJV)
That Apostle Paul wrote:
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
Later in the New Testament we are told in Hebrews 7:12 “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” and this in in reference to the fact that under the new priesthood of Christ the ceremonial and civil laws given to Israel as a nation are removed for the Church. The Church unlike Israel is not a physical nation but rather a spiritual nation made up all peoples from all nations.
So for those who want to say “well if you belief daughters are owned by their fathers and wives are owned by their husbands then why are we not stoning kids for being rebellious or wives committing adultery?” Great question and the answer is a very easy answer. The answer is that adultery and rebellion of children toward their parents are still just as much sins against God as when he stated this thousands of years ago. It is the penalty for these sins that has changed in the New Testament since the Church is not a nation it cannot exercise these types of punishments.
I will end with this passage from the Scriptures for those who find the Old Testament or the Bible repugnant to their modern American values. For you Christians who put more faith in studies conducted by man that say women should not do what God created them to do because it is “unhealthy” or “catastrophic” for them.
Contrary to popular teachings about unity in marriage, the Bible teaches that unity in marriage is primarily dependent on the actions, reactions and attitudes of a wife toward her husband and only secondarily on the behavior of the husband.
There are a lot of concepts that are given in marriage books today to try and help couples achieve unity. Some of these concepts, like choosing to act in loving ways toward our spouse and forgiving our spouse in spite of our feelings would even be supported by the Bible. But unfortunately, as with many other things – most teachings today on how to have unity in marriage mix truth with error.
God wants couples to unify by becoming one flesh in marriage
The Bible tells us about the unity God expects there to be in marriage:
“10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;”
Psalm 45:10 (KJV)
“7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Mark 10:7-9 (KJV)
When a husband and wife come together in marriage – this new relationship takes precedent over all other earthly relationships. Before they were married their greatest earthly relationship was with their parents and now it is with each other.
There are three important concepts about this unity in marriage that Christ talks about:
“And they twain SHALL be one flesh”
“so then they ARE no more twain, but one flesh”
“What therefore God hath joined together, let NOT man put asunder.”
Biblically speaking in marriage, a husband and wife are one flesh from the moment of their marriage covenant, yet they are to be becoming one flesh more and more the longer they are married and they are not to stop being one flesh as long as they both live.
In a way, this concept of being one flesh in marriage mirrors our salvation. From the moment, we are saved we receive Christ’s righteousness and are declared justified by God. But the Bible tells us “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) exhorting us to progressive sanctification. In essence the Bible is telling us “You are holy, so be holy”. In the same way, the Bible tells couples in marriage “You are one flesh, so be one flesh”.
In the next section I will talk about how we can practically make our marriage a true “one flesh” relationship as God desires it to be.
5 Steps to becoming one flesh in marriage
Below I have outlined Biblical concepts that I believe will bring the true unity that God desires for all Christian marriages. As I outline these steps you may see some things you have never seen in a marriage book or article and you will also see some things missing that you often see in books and articles on unity in marriage. At the end of these steps I will compare and contrast the Biblical model of unity in marriage with the modern-day model of unity in marriage.
Step 1 – A husband and wife are to have sexual relations on a regular basis
“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 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.”
I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)
The act of marriage or the consummation of marriage is sexual union. This is the most literal meaning of the Biblical phrase “one flesh”. Sex is to occur regularly in marriage. An interesting biological fact of sex is that it releases two bonding hormones (oxytocin and vasopressin) which God designed to draw a couple closer together.
On this subject of sexual relations in marriage Christian and non-Christian counselors are usually in fully agreement. The regularity of sexual relations is the first indicator of how healthy a relationship is. While it is possible to have regular sexual relations but still have disunity in a marriage – it is impossible to have full unity in a marriage without regular relations.
Step 2 – A husband is to know his wife
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
I Peter 3:7 (KJV)
For husbands this is the first step in cultivating oneness with their wife. A husband cannot love his wife as God intended without knowing her and this involves him talking with her and spending time with her. God thought it was so important for a man to get to know his wife that in the law he gave to Moses for Israel he gave this rule for newlywed couples:
“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”
Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)
God literally forbade men from going off to war or going away on business trips for the first year of their marriage. Couples literally had a one year honey moon in Israel!
So, this leads us to another question – why does a husband need to know his wife? The answer is found for us in the last part of I Peter 3:7 “that your prayers be not hindered.” What God is basically saying is “Husbands if you do not hear the concerns, needs and requests of your wife God will not hear your concerns, needs and requests”.
God wants all authorities whether they be Kings, governors, parents, masters, or employers to hear the concerns, needs and requests of those under them. This does not mean that a husband must give his wife whatever she wants or makes the decisions the way she wants him to. Sometimes God answers our prayers with a “yes”, sometimes he answers them with a “no” and sometimes he answers them with a “wait”. It is the same with a man and his wife.
When a man hears the concerns and requests of his wife and truly knows how she thinks, even if he does not act as she would like after hearing her this helps to build unity in the marriage.
Also, when a husband knows his wife he knows her passions and her interests. As long as those her interests do not conflict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home he should encourage her in these things. For example, maybe his wife likes to paint or to sing in church. Maybe she has desire to write for a woman’s blog, maybe she likes to write poetry. Perhaps she has a desire to run in home daycare. None of these things would automatically contradict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home.
However if a woman has a passion to be a mega news giant superstar and wants her husband to stay at home and take care of the home and kids(like Fox News star Meghan Kelly for example) her passions and ambitions are at direct odds with the role for which God designed her. This is by definition an example of selfish ambition on the part of a woman.
Step 3 – A wife is to learn how her husband thinks
“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 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)
Not only in spiritual matters, but in all matters of life a wife is to learn how her husband thinks and what makes him tick. A wife knowing how her husband thinks is critical to building the unity God desires for marriage between a man and his wife.
Step 4 – A wife is to submit to her husband
“22 Wives, 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. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)
The inevitable result of a woman getting to know how her husband thinks is that she will discover ways that he thinks that she disagrees with. Now a woman has two choices when she realizes these differences. One is to try and correct or change her husband’s thinking and the other is to submit. God calls women to do the latter and submit even when they disagree with their husbands. As long as a husband does not directly ask his wife to sin she must submit to him everything.
A wife should offer her advice in a kind way, not in a contentious way
“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)
In the previous step, we discussed that in order to maintain the unity in marriage that God desires for couples to have a wife must submit to her husband especially when she disagrees with him. But this does not mean that wives are forbidden from sharing any wisdom they have with their husbands.
But the attitude and method in which a woman shares her wisdom with her husband is very important. The Bible warns against wives being contentious with their husbands:
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”
Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)
Even if the words of a wife to her husband are wise, if they are delivered in a contentious or angry manner to her husband they will lose their intended effect and will cause the unity in the marriage to decline rapidly.
Also, a woman should always understand the position from which she offers advice. She is not her husband’s mother, his teacher or his authority. He is her authority and Biblically speaking his authority over her is even greater than that of her father’s.
A woman should view herself as a subject which gives counsel to her King and remember the Scriptures exhortation to wives to be “in subjection unto their own husbands”(I Peter 3:5).
Step 5 – A wife is to be her husband’s crown
“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”
Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)
The Bible tells us that a wife should be a crown to her husband. What is a crown? A crown brings glory and honor to its recipient. So, what the Bible is saying is that a wife by being her husband’s crown is one who should bring him glory and honor. She is to be his greatest cheerleader and supporter. The unfortunate truth is that many wives today are more of a dunce cap than a crown to their husband. Just as a wife being contentious with her husband breaks the unity of the marriage so too a wife failing to honor her husband for the man that he is will quickly break the unity of the marriage.
But there is another interesting aspect of a crown – especially that of a king. It was very common in ancient times that when a King conquered another land he would take the crown of the conquered King and put it on his head to show his ownership and authority over his newly conquered lands.
But what if a King liked the crown of another ruler and wanted to wear it more often but it did not fit his head well? Perhaps it was two small and would almost fall off his head or maybe it was too large for the diameter of his head and it would slide down in front of his face. So, what would the King do? He would give the crown to his craftsman and have them resize the crown to fit his head perfectly. Perhaps he would have them add some additional gems and take some gems away that he did not like. The point is that the crown would be molded to the King’s liking and made to fit his head perfectly.
In the same way wives need to move beyond mere submission to their husbands in their quest to truly be one flesh with their husbands.
Wives need to mold themselves over time more and more to their husbands likes and dislikes and to his various positions on the issues of life. They need to support and understand his passions whether it is his passion for his job, his ministries at church or his hobbies. This even more just mere submission – will bring the true unity that God desires to the marriage.
This does not mean that a wife may ever come to love everything her husband loves or hate everything her husband hates. There are some passions he may have that she will never be able to bring herself to share.
But a wife should pray hard each and every day that God would help her to mold herself and fit herself so that in the same way a crown needs to fit the head of the King who wears it – so to a wife needs to fit herself to her husband.
Putting it all together
So, when we look at Biblical principles for unity in marriage we see that unity comes from a husband and wife having regular sexual relations, talking to one another and knowing how the other person thinks, the wife submitting to her husband and the wife molding herself to her husband.
Why does the Biblical concept of marital unity put so much more responsibility on the wife than the husband?
When we take an honest view of the concept of Biblical unity in marriage, truly becoming one flesh with one another, we see that God places a much greater responsibility for unity on the wife than the husband.
In six different places in the Scriptures (Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 5:24, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, I Peter 3:1, I Peter 3:6) God tells wives to submit to their husbands. Contrary to Christian feminists and egalitarians reading in “husbands and wives” to Ephesians 5:21, the Bible NEVER EVER calls on husbands to submit to their wives.
Instead in Ephesians chapter five we are told that marriage is to be a picture of the relationship of Christ and his Church. Christ does not submit to his church; his church submits to him. Christ and his Church are not equals – one is subordinate to the other. Does the Church mold itself to Christ’s image or does Christ mold himself to image of his Church?
The point in all this is while a husband bears some responsibility for unity in his marriage as God requires him to know his wife – the bulk of the responsibility for unity in marriage comes from a wife submitting to her husband and then trying over time to mold herself more to her husband.
What are some practical ways a wife can mold herself to her husband?
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:1-6 (KJV)
Previously when we discussed a wife being her husband’s crown I brought up the idea that a wife should mold herself to her husband. This idea of a wife being molded to her husband’s wishes is a Biblical concept as we can see from Jeremiah 18:1-6. In that passage God speaks to Israel as his wife and that as her husband he has the right to mold and shape her as he sees fit.
Now lets return to the Proverbs 12:4 analogy of a woman being her husband’s crown. Does a King change the shape of his head to fit his crown or is the crown shaped to fit the head of the King? We know the answer is that the crown should be made to fit the head that wears it. In the same way, God has made a woman’s husband her head and she is to fit herself to him.
So the question then becomes how can a wife mold herself to better fit her husband? Below are some practical ways that wife can mold herself to her husband.
Take an interest in what he likes to watch on TV
If he likes watching certain types of TV shows – try and find some that you cultivate an interest in. You may not be able to cultivate an interest in everything he likes to watch and that is ok. But you should try and find some common ground with him in this area. Even if you just don’t like certain shows he likes – never shame him about things he is passionate about.
Take an interest in his extracurricular activities
If you husband likes to play on the church baseball league or he involved in a bowling league – try and cultivate an interest in these things. Support him and be his greatest cheerleader.
Take an interest in his passions
Maybe your husband is passionate about history or politics. Maybe he is passionate about science or science fiction. Maybe he is passionate about art, literature or music. Whatever your husband is passionate about – do your best to cultivate a passion for what he is passionate about. Now there may be some times where differences in intellect or preferences just make it impossible for you to cultivate a genuine desire for your husband’s passion for certain things. But even in these cases you should still support him in his passions and never shame him or nag him for being passionate about these things.
Cultivate a desire for his sexual preferences
In most cases men and women have very different sexual preferences because we approach sex from very different angles. A wife should cultivate a desire to dress inside and outside the bedroom in a way that pleases her husband. As long as what he is asking to her do inside or outside the bedroom is not sinful she should do it. But again, she should not just submit, but over time attempt to truly understand and embrace her husband’s sexual preferences. Ladies this is probably the single greatest way to instill passion in your husband toward you when you truly cultivate and embrace his sexual desires and this will help to truly unite you and your husband.
Accept and understand his spiritual positions
It is one thing to know and even submit to what your husband thinks on various doctrinal and philosophical positions. It is quite another to cultivate a desire to truly understand, accept and fully embrace your husband’s positions on various issues.
So, what this means practically speaking is that when a couple is first married a wife may have to submit first and understand later. But as a couple goes on in the years in the marriage and they grow in their unity – a wife should not be having to submit as much because she truly understands and embraces her husband’s positions.
For instance, if your husband is stricter on discipline with the children that you would be if you were leading the family, you need to find a way to not just submit to his methods but truly understand and embrace them. If your husband has different doctrinal beliefs or applications of Scripture than what you were raised with you need to find a way over time to cultivate and appreciation for and fully embrace his positions.
Should a wife lose herself in her husband?
In our culture, today it seems that the greatest sin a person can commit is to not be true to themselves or lose their identity in another. Our identity as a person comes from the combination of our likes, dislikes, passions and beliefs. So, if a person changes their likes, dislikes, passions and beliefs for another person they are said to be giving up who they are or losing their identity and this is wrong in the view of most people in our culture.
I don’t think a wife has to give up everything she likes to do, her passions or her preferences as long as those things don’t cause disunity in the marriage. If a wife loves to sing in church but her husband cannot sing at all that does not mean she should have to give up singing unless somehow it was causing a conflict in the marriage.
However, over time while she may not have to completely give up her identity – it will change if she truly strives for the unity in marriage that God desires. This is similar to how when we become Christians our identity changes, yet we all as Christians are still individuals. We can see in the Gospels 4 very different individuals who wrote those books so we know the Apostles did not lose their identity by becoming Christians. But they all changed! They started conforming themselves to Christ and there were changes in their identity so they could become more like him.
In this same way while a wife may not completely lose her identity in marriage, she certainly should go through big changes in her person over the years as she is married to her husband. If a woman has been married to a man for 10 years and nothing has changed about her likes, dislikes, beliefs, or behaviors I can guarantee you that she is not united with her husband in their marriage as God desires her to be.
I remember years ago, I had a female relative come to me while she was going through a mid-life crisis. She told me “After decades of marriage to my husband I feel like I lost who I was with him. What he likes I like, what he dislikes I dislike. I lost myself and I don’t even recognize the person I am any more with him from who I used to be”.
My response to her was “good – that is exactly what God wanted you to do. Your husband is a good Christian man. Even though he is imperfect like we all are – there is nothing wrong with the way you have molded yourself to him over the decades. What you are listening to is the world telling you that you need to be your own person. But you need to listen to God who tells you that you need to mold yourself to your husband – keep doing what you have been doing and God will bless you. Stop listening to world.”
Why Compromise in Marriage is Sacred in Humanism and Sinful in the Bible
There is a word that you may have noticed that is missing from all the Biblical advice on unity I have just given. That word is compromise.
In humanism, compromise is a sacred tenant of any relationship, especially in marriage. The reason it is sacred is because of humanism’s beliefs in individualism and equality. For individualism and equality to flourish, compromises must constantly be made. A marriage where one person calls all the shots on moral issues and big decisions of the family is considered “toxic” in the humanist view. This is because they believe marriage is an equal partnership.
But the Bible presents a very different view of marriage.
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives”
1 Peter 3:1 (KJV)
The Bible shows in the passage above from 1 Peter 3:1 that God did not design marriage as a partnership, but rather as a patriarchy. And in the passage below from Ephesians 5:23 we can see that not only is marriage a patriarchy, but it was intended by God to be a direct reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church.
“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.“
Ephesians 5:23 (KJV)
So the question is does Christ compromise with his church on his will, his plans and his moral decisions? The answer is absolutely not. And neither should husband’s compromise with their wives in these areas.
The first recorded sin of a male human being, Adam, was when he compromised his moral beliefs and listen to wife.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life”
Genesis 3:17 (KJV)
Adam’s compromise of his morality to please his wife brought sin into the world. Job shows us what Adam should have done when his wife asked him to compromise his morality:
“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
Job 2:9-10 (KJV)
When a man compromises his moral beliefs to please his wife he breaks the picture of Christ and his church and he exposes his family to possible consequences of that decision.
Now don’t get me wrong – when it comes to things that have nothing to do with morality compromise in marriage is a good thing. Like when we choose where we go to dinner that is not necessarily a moral decision. How much is spent on dinner is a moral decision, but whether we have a hamburger or pizza is not.
But I think in most cases what we call compromise on these no moral things is just us being selfless and putting the other person first and that is a good thing.
But when it comes to moral decisions, including financial decisions, career decisions, what church is attended, religious beliefs, discipline and teaching of the children, decisions about sex and other things like this there can be no compromise. A husband is always called by God to do what is he believes is right before God.
But what about him?
If your first instinct when you started reading through this article was to think “what about him?” then you have revealed that you have an unbiblical view of yourself and your marriage.
Before I continue – yes I did write an entire article last year on this subject entitled “10 ways to know your wife” which you can check out later.
But if you are the “what about him” woman I want to give you the following passages of scripture to mediate on.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Romans 12:3 (KJV)
“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
1 Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)
After letting the truth of these two passages penetrate your heart I suggest you re-read everything I have written and do not worry about your husband’s part in the unity of your marriage. Worry only about your responsibility for unity as the wife knowing that you bear the greatest burden in making your marriage truly unified by submitting to your husband and molding yourself to him.