Recently, I found myself challenged by listening to a divorced and remarried lay man teaching women (unrelated to him), saying: “Men were created by God to be in control; women were created to nurture; God’s curse on women at the Fall is that they want to be in control.”
Hmmmmmm…..That may be what his preacher teaches or what he wants to believe, but I find no support for that position in Scripture. What I do find is……
Titus 2: 3-5 Instructions for Women
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”
I never noticed this before. Women are instructed to be subject to their own husbands……Not to MEN, in general, but each to her own husband, as is appropriate. However. The next phrase puts a qualifier on it….so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Husbands and wives are to be wisely instructed about the Word of God and be in agreement about the Word of God, about God’s will for their lives, about their living out of their faith. Christ is the head over the couple and this is to be reflected in their love and mutual submission to one another, each couple together, in accordance with the Scripture’s instruction.
The Apostle Paul had also instructed mutuality in submission to one another in marriage.
“The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
(Men and women who are divorced have diminished credibility in attempting to instruct others in how to live out the instructions of Scripture for husbands and wives. They should humbly mind their own business and seek to know and live the Scripture in their own lives, tend to their own marriages, not be telling others how to run their marriages! )
“34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
This goes to the same point that is made in Titus 2:3, that a husband and wife are to be in agreement about the Word, how it is applied to their lives together in marriage and how they live it out. A husband, who is responsible for being the spiritual head of the household, and who was, at the time of the writing of Scripture, the one who was generally expected to be the educated and literate in the home, could be shamed by having his wife asking questions in church. It would indicate that he had failed in his duty before God and to his wife in his own home. So Paul’s instructions were not to indicate any detriment of women, but to protect the men from shame before their peers if they failed in their biblical duty!
This point is also evidenced in the Proverbs 31 praise for a wife: A wife is to guard the heart of her husband (Proverbs 31: 10-12, 23 , 28-29) in this matter and in others:
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm………Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land……. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
She is scrupulous in making sure that her household fulfills all mandates of the religious law, she assures that her husband has good standing in the community. He is built up in reputation in the community because of the way she conducts herself and honors him. He praises her! She is his best friend and greatest support…….as he is hers.
Instructions for Christian Households – MUTUAL SUBMISSION IN MARRIAGE Ephesians 5:21-33
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (No evidence of superiority of one over the other here!)
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (The implication is that one’s husband is Christlike and has the best interest and sacrificial protection of her at his very heart.)
Husbands are to act out of the most sacrificial of motives for the sake of their wives….not “lording” over them, but standing side by side, as a bridegroom who honors and edifies his bride. Mutually submitting to Christ in their marriage.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, (Here we see again that it is the husband’s responsibility to read, study, and KNOW the word and that, by it, both he and his wife are to be made holy)
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (This implies that they are merged together, fused, ONE and EQUAL….)
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. MUTUALITY AGAIN….each bears a responsibility to the other in the marriage.
Paul obviously has a high regard for the mystery of Christ and his bride, the church. Similarly, he seems to have high regard for the mystery that is unity and mutuality in marriage.
So the next time a divorced and remarried lay man tells you, women, about relationships and states that women are cursed by God, take such instruction with a grain of salt and, when you marry, be sure you marry a truly servant hearted godly man who is prepared to study and join with you in interpreting the Word for YOUR and HIS relationship with Christ and with one another!