Do men have authority over women according to the Scriptures?

silentMany Christians believe that the Bible proves women should be subordinate to men. These ideas have gone so far, as to obstruct women from serving God as leaders in some Christian Congregations, and even to be completely silent in others. Are these claims true? Does God treat women differently to men? Has He given authority over women, to the men? In this study, we will put these ideas to the test against God’s Word and try to uncover what our Heavenly Father thinks of the matter.

This study is broken down into the following sections:
1. Adam & Eve – God gives the husband authority over his wife
2. Husband & Wife – Dynamics of the marriage relationship
3. The Daughter falls under the authority of her father
4. Are women subordinate to men in anyway?
5. Women’s equal position according to the Scriptures
6. Questions regarding the writings of Paul
7. Conclusion


1. Adam & Eve – God gives the husband authority over his wife

Gen 1:27 records “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them”. According to the above passage, God created the male and female, both in His image. When Adam was created, he contained Eve also in himself, as we read in Gen 5:2 “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created”. After Adam & Eve sinned, God punished Eve’s disobedience, by making the husband have authority over her, as seen in Gen 3:16  “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.

The misunderstanding lies here. God did not allow all men to have authority over all women. But all husbands had authority over their own wives. (Please note: This does not mean that the Husband can act as he pleases, within the partnership of marriage. We will look into these dynamics in the next section of this study). Man has no authority over woman, until they enter into the covenant of marriage which was established by God in Creation.


2. Husband & Wife – Dynamics of the marriage relationship

As God had ordained in the beginning, a wife is under the headship of the husband, as we read in Eph 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body”. This does not mean that the husband has complete power over his wife to do as he pleases, or that the wife is supposed to be a servant unto the husband. Husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies (Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself), to the extent that they would even sacrifice their lives to save the life of their wives. (Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it). Both husband and wife should respect one another (1Co 7:3  Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband) knowing that they are bonded to each other till their death (1Co 7:4  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). 

In the relationship of marriage, according to God’s Law, the husband has authority to approve or revoke a bond or vow made by the wife (Num 30:13,14 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void. 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). This shows us that the wife has freedom to make personal decisions such as oaths or vows of her own, as long as the husband is in agreement with it.


3. The Daughter falls under the authority of her Father

Much like the wife is under the headship of the husband, a daughter who is still living under the Father’s roof, is also living under the authority of her father & mother.

Even though a daughter was under the headship of the parents, she could still accept or reject even a possible suitor that was set before her. We see such an instance in the case of Rebekah, when she was asked whether she would choose to go with Abraham’s Servant (Gen 24:57,58 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go).

A daughter was given posessions from her father at the time of marriage, and it was possible for the daughter even to demand an increase of such property, as seen with Achsah – daughter of Caleb who asked that the springs be added to the land she received (Jdg 1:14-15 And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs).

According to God’s Law, a father has authority to approve or revoke a bond or vow made by the daughter as we see in Num 30:3-5 “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; 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. 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”.

Even though the father had authority over a young daughter who lived under his roof, she was never forced into anything. The children had their freedom, but the father was considered the head of the house, having the ability to make final decisions for the whole families’ benefit.


4. Are women subordinate to men in anyway?

As per section 2 & 3, we see that the Husband has authority over his wife, and that the Father has authority over his daughter. Other than in these relationships, a woman is not different to a man in God’s eyes in anyway. What we must understand is, that male and female are born equal before God. In the family relationship, a daughter as well as a son, is under the headship of the parents. When and if they leave the house of their parents as independent individuals, they are bound or subordinate to no one.

When a woman enters the covenant of marriage, she willingly enters a relationship, in which the wife places herself under the headship of her husband. The husband as the head of the family unit has the authority, but is also responsible to head the family according to God’s Word.

This was the fault of Adam. Adam had chosen to listen to his wife, rather than be obedient to God. (Gen 3:17 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). When a Husband becomes a father, his responsibilities and authority extends to his children as well.

To put it in another way, this is how the headship/authority of relationships work
Our Heavenly Father

Father (Husband)

Mother (Wife)

Son/Daughter

When we accept Messiah’s sacrifice and receive God’s grace, all of us enter into a relationship where we place God over our lives. When a woman enters into a marriage covenant, she accepts the husband to have authority over her life. When they become parents, the children given to them by God are also under their authority, till the child chooses and is able, to leave their parents care.

The Father(husand), Mother(wife) & Son/daughter are all under the authority of God. The Mother(wife) & Son/daughter are under the authority of the Father(husand). The sons and daughters are all under the authority of their Father & Mother. These are the dynamics of the relationships God has created.

A woman and a man independent from each other, is not subordinate to one or the other in any way. Paul was correct to say “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” in Gal 3:28.


5. Women’s equal position according to the Scriptures

Let’s review both the Old and New Testament writings to see how Women were perceived both by people and God.

A. There were many prophetesses mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament showing us that there was no gender preference to become a Prophet of God.

Exo 15:20  And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
2Ki 22:14  So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.
Isa 8:3  And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz.
Luk 2:36  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
Act 21:8,9  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. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
Act 2:17,18 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: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  (Quoted from Joel 2:28,29)

B. A woman could not only serve in the capacity of Prophet, but also of Judge, as seen with Deborah, who judged Israel – in the time of judges, when there was no King among the people of Israel.

Jdg 4:4  And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

C. A daughter would inherit the possessions of the father if they had no brothers, as seen with the daughters of Zelophehad.

Num 27:4-8 Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father. And Moses brought their cause before the LORD. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter.

D. There were women who founded cities, as seen with Sherah – a daughter of Ephraim.

1Ch 7:24  And his daughter was Sherah, who built Bethhoron the nether, and the upper, and Uzzensherah.

E. Women and Men were both equally welcome to learn and be part of the congregation and to serve

Deu 31:12  Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
Neh 8:2  And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
Act 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.
Act 17:12  Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
Act 18:26  And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
Rom 16:1  I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant(G1249 – διάκονος
diakonos – Deacon) of the church which is at Cenchrea:
Num 6:2  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:


6. Questions regarding the writings of Paul

Many of the misunderstandings regarding this topic stem from the writings of Paul, as in many other cases. It is partly because of translation issues as well. Wherever “woman” is mentioned, if it should be translated “wife”, it would make quite a big difference. As you will see below, this is just the case. Most of the misunderstood teachings/sayings of Paul which are quoted by people as to prove women are subordinate to men, are speaking exclusively about husbands and wives, and not about male and female individuals.

Misunderstood verse 1: 1Co 14:34,35 Let your women(G1135-Gooney-wife) 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. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands(G435-anayr-husband) at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

The Corinthian church, to which these words were written, had many issues that Paul was worried about. One of these issues were that they were disorderly, as seen by his instructions in Chapter 14. Reading the above verse, most jump to the conclusion of “women should be silent in the church”. But reading it in context, we see that this has to do with wives and not all women – and not all wives even, as this was directed at an unruly congregation with many divisions(11:18), disputes(1:11), sinfulness(5:1), legal petitions(6:1) and such controversies. The verse itself proves that this instruction is not directed at women, but at wives, as Paul asks that “they ask their husbands at home” – “they” referring to the women spoken before, which should ideally be translated “wives”.

It is obvious that many wives at Corinth were acting contrary to what God had ordained, and were not subjecting themselves to their husbands, engaging themselves in divisions, disputes and the like, mentioned above. This is why Paul spoke in such harsh words asking them to subject themselves to their husbands and voice their concerns at home rather than in the presence of the congregation, as to be seen respectful. (The word translated as “Woman” in the above verse is a Greek word called “Gooney” which means “wife” as seen in this example:- 1Co 7:34  There is difference also between a wife(G1135-Gooney) and a virgin(G3933-parthenos).

Misunderstood verse 2: 1Ti 2:11-14 Let the woman(G1135-Gooney-wife) learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman(G1135-Gooney-wife) to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man(G435-anayr-husband), but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he speaks of authority again between “woman” and “man” as seen in our English Translations. In the original Greek text, the word “Woman” reads as “Gooney” which means “wife”, and the word “Man” reads “Anayr” which means “Husband” as seen in 1Cor 14:35 discussed above. Further proof that Paul’s whole discourse is on the husband-wife relationship, can be seen in the next verse, where he explains this concept of authority by connecting it to Adam & Eve, who were husband and wife.

The usurping of authority over a husband, by his wife is what this instruction is all about. As discussed before, when Adam sinned against God, he did so by listening and putting the words of his wife before God’s word. It is absurd to think that just because Eve was deceived, that all women can be deceived. Instead, it is my belief that Paul was instructing Timothy on how the congregation should operate – where no wife would try to act authoritative over their husbands, trying to teach the man the right way (This is not to say, that wives could guide husbands from a wrong path towards the light. The context of this particular verse is that a husband who is already righteous and obedient to God’s word should not be subjected to correction by a wife who “thinks” she is right, especially in front of the congregation). It is likely, that Paul is speaking of a case which Timothy had brought to his attention, of a particular woman who was exacting authority over the husband in one of the congregations he was part of.


 

7. Conclusion

I hope that you have seen adequate proof to understand that women are not subordinate to men, and that men carry no authority over women. Throughout the Scriptures, women are given equal importance to men, having been viewed and treated by God the same. From creation itself, God gave authority over a wife to her husband, as seen with Adam & Eve. Even though authority over the wife was handed to the husband, it was more of a responsibility than a power. The husband was to guide his family with the help of the wife, while focusing on God who had authority over all.

The only authority a man would carry over a woman, would be in the covenant of marriage and in the parental bond between a father and daughter. Two independent male and female individuals would always be equal in front of God’s eyes and it should be no different when it comes to our own principals.

Even the misunderstood verses of Paul, which are regarded as saying “all women should be silent in the churches” refer only to some wives who were misusing the freedom they had, by putting their husbands to shame in front of their congregations. Most of these verses have even been translated incorrectly, as “woman” should read as “wife”, and “man” should read “husband”, leading to a lot of confusion.

The sum of all that was discussed is this: If you are a man, you have no authority over women. If you are a husband, you carry authority over your wife. If you are a father, you are the head of your whole family. When you are given authority over a wife or child, you are responsible for all that they do. You are to guide all who are under your wings towards God, all the while remembering that you yourself is under the headship of Messiah and our Heavenly Father. Just because a wife or daughter is under the headship of husband or father, does not mean that they should act as servants. They are to help and guide the husband/father, while the husband/father is to take care of them and do all that he can to steer them towards God Almighty.

My prayer is that all Christian men, start looking at their fellow sisters as equals, not looking down on them or restricting them from serving God, to their full extent. We must change our personal attitudes and the traditions handed down through generations of misguided teachings, towards the Word of God, and how God perceives the same situations – thereby serving and obeying God, to our best ability.

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46 thoughts on “Do men have authority over women according to the Scriptures?

  1. Beverly Jackson

    I did not see a label for print, I am a “senior citizen” some of these new computer things juggle my mind(lol)

    Reply
  2. Stephen

    How come you didn’t mention that the high priests in Israel (Aaron, his sons etc.) were only men? Jesus’s 12 apostles were only men? The 144,000 rulers in God’s New Earth will be Kings (no queens)? Or that God Himself values males higher than females, financially? (Leviticus 27:3 – 4).

    God was alone with Adam in Eden for an unspecified amount of time. Eve was created for Adam as his “helper” not his equal.

    Deborah was only ONE female judge. The exception to the rule along with the few prophetesses. Well done for picking and choosing bits from the Bible but leaving out the “awkward” parts!!

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Stephen,

      I believe you have missed the whole point of this post. The question in hand was whether the Scriptures give authority over women to men. I do not refute that God chose men for so many things, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and so on. If you read the post properly, you would have seen that it showed how God gave authority over Eve to Adam. A Husband has authority over His Wife. A father has authority over his Daughter. The whole point of the post was to prove that “men” can’t say they have authority over women, Scripturally.

      If God excepted Deborah, or even a few prophetesses along the way, it means the office of Judge or Prophet is not exclusive for men. When it comes to the Priesthood, God is clear that it would only be Aaron’s Sons. There is no clear evidence to say (and no clear law/rule) that women can’t be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors & Teachers – if they wanted to.

      According to Gen 1:27 God created humans in His image; He created them male and female – meaning the female is as much as God’s image as the male.

      When it comes to authority of a husband and a father, God’s Law is very clear – but nowhere does God say that man is above woman and that man has authority over all women.

      If this post was about “God choosing men over women for most of His work in Scripture” – you could call this picking and choosing Scripture. But clearly you have skimmed through this post and have not understood the discussion properly.

      Be a blessing to all around you!

      Reply
      1. Mari Bar

        The valuation spoken of in Leviticus was a set standard (as opposed to the varying standards set by the priest for animals given as offerings) in regard to a vow made by a man or a woman dedicating themselves to the Lord. I would imagine a vow made by a woman would be deemed lesser in value, not because she is worth less to God, but because according to Numbers 30:13 her vows could be nullified by her father or husband. It was also a set value to redeem the persons in the event of a vow regretted. Also, Exodus speaks of how all the males were to be redeemed for a certain value, not because they are more valuable in the eyes of God, but because he took the first born males of the Egyptians. A good article going into more detail about this is: https://bible.org/seriespage/22-value-vow-leviticus-27

        The word helper in the bible is also used of God himself in the Psalms when David says, “From where does my help come from? My helper is the Lord.” If it were a word of devaluation, God would surly not use it of himself, but it is instead a word of value as a woman is a helper against the woes & enemies (Spiritual forces of Wickedness Eph. 6) of Adam.

        As to Deborah and the prophetesses, I think this shows that God values women just as much as men, but I think you missed her point in the article about God being a God of order and not confusion. I think part of the problem is that the definition of headship has been skewed by our fallen world. Biblical male headship is the partnership of two spiritually equal human beings, man and woman, where the man bears the primary responsibility to lead the partnership in a God-glorifying direction. Men and woman are equal, but with different and distinct roles. This is often confused in a world where men and women no longer value their individual roles. Also, a man who follows God and wants to glorify God will not treat his wife in any manner that would defame God.

        As to the rest of the male figures spoken of – Kings, Priest & (Teachers) Apostles, the are men simply because they point to Christ and because God is a God of order with the male as the responsible party for leading the church, their wife and children in the their walk with the Lord.

    2. Shayna

      Stephen…. God created male AND female in his image. Therefore they are equals. Women were created because men needed HELP lol and it wasn’t good for them to be alone.God is masculine and feminine and his attributes can be found in men and women! God is strong, logical, nurturing, beautiful, loving, compassionate and mighty. If you think women are unequal to men then you have missed out on so much of who God is!

      Reply
      1. rameshdesilva Post author

        As both a Man and a Husband, I agree with Shayna! What an empty world it would be without women and all they add to our lives.
        Be a blessing to everyone around you!

  3. caleb

    im sorry how can a husband have authority over a wife, im a chirstian and this whole concept has made me doubt my religion, i understand he gave a husband authority but in no circumstances should one have authority plainly because of thier gender what in the name, honestly i think its horrible that i would be considered of higher authority than my wife, we are both partners and our genders simply determin which sexual organ we have and our hormones which will be released (aswell as which part we play in the reproductive system). Why shoudl i have authority because i have a penis and my wife would have a bagina SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THIS cause it’s making em go crazy and i love my religion and dont understand this at all

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Caleb,

      If you believe in the Word of God, then you also believe that Adam was created first, and part of Adam was turned into the woman. Marriage was instituted by God. And He is the one who gave authority of the Wife to the Husband. This does not mean “everything that a man says.. goes” or that the husband rules over the wife. A husband and wife are equal partners, and many a time we see that the husband listens to the wife without question. Think of it this way – A teacher/pastor has authority over his/her congregation. This does not mean he/she rules over them. In fact, Messiah showed that the greater has to be the lowest, as he/she is who serves the others. In the same way a Husband may have been given authority over his wife – not to rule over them, but to serve them to the point of giving his own life to save her. Are there occasions where the Husband can overrule the wife? Yes! before God, for a very righteous reason – for her own safety – that authority before God is in the hands of the Husband. The husband should treat the wife as an equal or even in a higher regard. not the other way around.

      I hope you look at this question with much love and through God’s eyes – as He has not established what He has created in this way without reason

      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
    2. Linda Jacobs

      Hi Caleb…Hang in there! You are correct (but your analysis of organs won’t convince anyone or give you peace). I am writing on how God’s Word has been misinterpreted and mistranslated concerning woman and the husband/wife relationship. It is all backed by scripture and it will prove your point! Can you give me your email address, so I can share it with you when I’m finished? In the meantime, if you study the Greek words, so you have Biblical prove for your conclusions.

      Reply
    3. akasha001

      I left Christianity because of this. As a woman, I was left hating and loathing my gender, and asking God what did my soul do wrong to be born in the lesser position, as a female, to be ‘ruled’ by a husband and have to obey. What did I do wrong, that I had to always be the one to give up my decisions and my opinions so that a man could always have his way? Telling a man to love his wife is small consolation since both spouses will love each other anyway or why even be married? Why does love go both ways but the wife has to be the one to be under authority of another human her whole life?
      Children get to grow up and be adults, under their own authority and no longer ‘subject’ to their parents. Employees sign on with understanding they have opportunity to advance in the company and reach supervisory or management level someday. These things can never be compared to the plight of a wife, who is expected to be subordinate, the bottom rung, her whole life with that husband, with no chance to ‘grow up’ or ‘advance’ in the ‘company’ so to speak. It’s depressing and makes females hate their gender. It’s not a nice feeling at all. Most males openly admit they would NEVER want to be in that position themselves. It makes vast majority of women ask at least once to God what did they do wrong to be born in a female body. What did boys do so good that they got to be born in the privileged position? My soul must have done something terribly wrong prior to birth, to be consigned to this horrible lowly position as a female. If I had stayed in Christianity I would never have agreed to marry a man ever. I could not consign myself to a life of subservience and subjection to another human with no chance to ever better that relational position. Makes me think, what if a man also does not believe in that and chooses to make his wife an equal partner in the ‘company’?

      Reply
      1. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Akasha,
        I believe there is nothing I can say that would convince you of anything else than the current view of Christianity you have. It is true that God does give specific roles for specific individuals. I can’t tell you why He has established it that way… I can only tell you what He has done according to Scripture. I believe this subordinate lowly slave-like image of a wife is not from the Scriptures I know. In the Scriptures I read, Abraham is told what to do by his wife. He tells her to do as she pleases in some cases. Jacob is controlled by both leah and rachel. And nowhere does a story of dominating husband ever appear in the Scriptures. As I tried to explain in the post, even though the husband has authority over the wife, it is not to control her, but to guide her. For example people appoint a president over them, who has authority over them and leads them – but that does not mean the president is not an equal to a citizen. Actually the president is the servant of the citizen. Similarly, in marriage a husband takes the reigns of the marriage not to do what he pleases the way he pleases when he pleases. It is a similar president – citizen relationship. The president should listen to the citizen and should do what ever is in best interest of the citizen. On why we have to remain a citizen or have the ability to become a president – or your quandary on why you were born female rather than male – I have no answer. Maybe God knows you will be a better mother than a father? I can only say that we have no right to question our creator.
        I am saddened to hear that you left the faith because of such a question. Let me leave you with a quote from Paul which he in turn quoted from Isaiah : Rom 9:20,21 On the contrary, who are you-mere man that you are-to talk back to God? Can an object that was molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this?” A potter has the right to do what he wants to with his clay, doesn’t he?
        Be a blessing to everyone around you

      2. Ani

        If you are driving a truck and go to turn onto the highway, but a small car is coming your way, do you give the small car the right of way or do you pull out on the highway in front of the small car, simply because you are a bigger vehicle? Of course the answer is you obey the law, trusting that it is written that way for the sake of order and safety, and give way to the smaller car because it is already on the highway. It is the same with Christian marriage. If God says a woman is under her husband, even though she may be earning the higher salary or looks better, or is more educated, that means that He has made that law for the sake of order and safety. As was pointed out much earlier in this discussion, men are under authority not only to love and to understand their wife, but to provide for her every need to the point of being willing to die for her. When you understand God’s balance it makes sense. Yes I am a woman btw.

    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Women were an active part of any Congregation in the 1st Century, as we see through the many examples on this post. They can be called to be preachers and teachers. Elderly men or women with experience and knowledge could be regarded elders in assemblies. There is no restrictions. And men who are good at teaching children, should be allowed to do so. – According to my understanding of the Scriptures and the New Testament writings.

      Reply
      1. Marie

        Hmm… This is different than what my congregation believes (I go to a Church of Christ). They believe that the Bible states that the spots for elders, deacons, and preacher are reserved for men. I struggle with this a little bit because I think that women would do good in these positions as well. The youth minister is also a man, as well, but there are two women who help out in several youth activities along with a few other men.

        For little kids, men and teens can teach or help watch over them, and from what I’ve noticed whenever I help out (I’m 15), whenever a man is there to watch over the kids with the other people, he seems to be just helping out while the women tend to lead on everything. This seems to happen naturally.

        Where from the New Testament do you get that men and women can fulfill any of these roles? I’m very curious.

      2. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Marie,
        Many of the mainline Christian movements today, see women as somehow less than men. They are seen as under the authority of men – when God’s Word does not corroborate this doctrine. Some of Paul’s letters are twisted to teach that women should just learn in silence and submission. The truth I believe is far from it.

        I will give you an example of a woman deacon in Cenchrea – Phebe, as mentioned in Rom 16:1. Now in our translations, she is called a servant. But the Greek word used there in the original manuscripts is (G1249 – διάκονος – diakonos) Deacon. the same word is translated as Deacon in other places. This is the bias of our English translations.

        The Husband Wife duo Aquila & Priscilla taught Apollos (Acts 18:26)

        The Prophet – a person who acted as the mouth of God, one of the highest callings was also not separated only for males (Exo 15:20, 2Kin 22:14, Isa 8:3, Luk 2:36, Act 21:8,9, Act 2:17,18, Joe 2:28,29)

        There is nothing wrong in women teaching kids – actually they maybe better teachers than men anyway. But no man/ pastor/ congregation/ denomination should say that women cannot act in these capacities, if they walk according to the Word of God and are capable.

        Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      3. Marie

        Well, when you say that in a way congregations see women as somehow less than men, I don’t fully think that that’s what my congregation does. Yes, they reserve the positions for elders, deacons, youth minister, song leader, and the preacher for men (because of what 1 Timothy 2:12-14 says) but any other position (such as running the computer/projector, teaching little kids, singing with the praise team). Women can teach in things such as devos, etc., but basically, what my parents think is that if its a woman teaching, it’s not really a church service.

        I like your definition of what a prophet is, and I do think that both men and women can be prophets. I had no idea that there were other female prophets in the Bible besides Jezebel, who was really a false prophet.

        As a female, I think that I can be capable of anything males can do. I don’t feel called to be a preacher or anything like that, but I do feel called to bring some Christian diffusion through writing and publishing books. I am writing a series about a girl named Cordelia who is turned into a vampire and becomes the granddaughter of the devil. The world in my book is a combination of myths and reality. Most of the spiritual activity- angels, demons, God, and Satan- work just like they do in real life. Basically, the purpose of my book is to attract nonbelievers who are into monsters, myths, evil forces, etc., and give them some Christian diffusion. I guess that in a way, I feel called to be a prophet.

        But, if God didn’t give men the ability to rule over women, then why is there so much female oppression in the Middle East? What about the pioneers of America, who were very strict Christians and saw women as lower? Don’t kings have much more authority than queens in most cultures with kingdoms? Why were the only High Priests in the Bible men? Why is the word “men” always said before the word “women”? Why are God and Jesus both referred to as “hims”? Isn’t this evidence of God’s giving men authority over women?

      4. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Marie,
        As I mentioned in the post, there is no Scriptural evidence to say God gave men the ability to rule over women. Husbands were given authority over their wives, and if a lady marries a man she is putting herself under that authority – again, I must say husbands were not supposed to belittle their wives but to lead them and serve them just as Christ did the Church.

        Female oppression in the Middle East stems from Islam and Arabic influence, which has been in their culture long before these areas became Muslim dominated. They were slave traders as you see in Joseph’s story, and their culture is far different to the Scriptures that we believe. Some believe Islam to be a close relation to what we believe. But it is quite different with completely different commandments and history.

        The pioneers of America would have seen the Bible in the same way many denominations see it. And they did inherit it from England which in turn inherited it from Rome.

        Worldy kings and queens aside, in the Scriptures God wanted a man to lead the nation. and only in situations where there were no suitable male heirs to the throne, would a Queen be allowed to rule. This I believe stems from God’s plan for the family unit. The head of a family is a Husband and a Father. And he would pass his blessing down to his firstborn son. The priest/leader of the house would be the father. And a king was a father of the whole nation when taken as one family.

        High priests from the line of Aaron and all the Levites who worked in the temple were indeed men. And this was God’s choice. Just as He chose only the Levites and only Sons of Aaron to serve Him. I guess that was God’s prerogative.

        Even I mention “Men” before “Women”, and do it not meaning any disrespect. I guess it comes to the Scriptures as Man was made first and then Woman through him. But again, I do not believe this is done out of some reason to submit women to the authority of men. It maybe just the order of things mimicking the creation account.

        God & Yeshua(jesus) are both referred to in Masculine form, in the same way His people is referred to in the Feminine. In the Old Testament, God wooed His people as a Husband betrothes a Wife. In the New Testament, this type continued through Yeshua, as He referred to Himself as the Bridegroom and the people are still called a Bride. Please read the below link for more details:
        https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/the-betrothal-divorce-and-re-betrothal-of-gods-people-through-messiah/

        Did God choose men to serve Him in certain occasions, over women? Yes. But does this mean they are better or that they have some supremacy over women? I don’t think so. Women were called to be Mothers – give birth to children – one of the greatest things on earth, in which the male plays only a minor role. Bearing children is also seen by some as a punishment given to women. Not true. Birth Pains was the punishment that God gave Eve. If it wasn’t for women there would be no males on earth. God has given roles to each of us to play. And man was to provide for his family through hard work, while women were to give life to the world. Does this mean, men are better in some way? Or that God sees men to be better? I don’t think so. Even though God is referred to as a He, the Scriptures are clear that He has the characteristics of both male and female (Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. )

        Nowhere in the Scriptures can you find God giving men authority over women. Only Husbands and Fathers had the right to lead his wife & family. And there again it was not a higher position, but a service – something Yeshua showed to us through His life abundantly.

        Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      5. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Marie,

        There are two verses that are usually used to argue the case of male dominance. We must first remember that Paul is writing letters to specific congregations with specific issues. Also that Paul’s words were twisted even in his time according to Peter’s warning on Pauline epistles(2Pet 3:15,16).

        We must also look at context and the Original Greek beyond our translations, because we can easily make wrong conclusions otherwise.

        Many of the misunderstandings regarding this topic stem from the writings of Paul, as in many other cases. It is partly because of translation issues as well. Wherever “woman” is mentioned, if it should be translated “wife”, it would make quite a big difference. As you will see below, this is just the case. Most of the misunderstood teachings/sayings of Paul which are quoted by people as to prove women are subordinate to men, are speaking exclusively about husbands and wives, and not about male and female individuals.

        Misunderstood verse 1:
        1Co 14:34,35 Let your women(G1135-Gooney-wife) 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. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands(G435-anayr-husband) at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
        The Corinthian church, to which these words were written, had many issues that Paul was worried about. One of these issues were that they were disorderly, as seen by his instructions in Chapter 14. Reading the above verse, most jump to the conclusion of “women should be silent in the church”. But reading it in context, we see that this has to do with wives and not all women – and not all wives even, as this was directed at an unruly congregation with many divisions(11:18), disputes(1:11), sinfulness(5:1), legal petitions(6:1) and such controversies. The verse itself proves that this instruction is not directed at women, but at wives, as Paul asks that “they ask their husbands at home” – “they” referring to the women spoken before, which should ideally be translated “wives”.

        It is obvious that many wives at Corinth were acting contrary to what God had ordained, and were not subjecting themselves to their husbands, engaging themselves in divisions, disputes and the like, mentioned above. This is why Paul spoke in such harsh words asking them to subject themselves to their husbands and voice their concerns at home rather than in the presence of the congregation, as to be seen respectful. (The word translated as “Woman” in the above verse is a Greek word called “Gooney” which means “wife” as seen in this example:- 1Co 7:34 There is difference also between a wife(G1135-Gooney), a virgin(G3933-parthenos) or unmarried woman(G22-agamos).

        Misunderstood verse 2:
        1Ti 2:11-14 Let the woman(G1135-Gooney-wife) learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman(G1135-Gooney-wife) to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man(G435-anayr-husband), but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
        In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he speaks of authority again between “woman” and “man” as seen in our English Translations. In the original Greek text, the word “Woman” reads as “Gooney” which means “wife”, and the word “Man” reads “Anayr” which means “Husband” as seen in 1Cor 14:35 discussed above. Further proof that Paul’s whole discourse is on the husband-wife relationship, can be seen in the next verse, where he explains this concept of authority by connecting it to Adam & Eve, who were husband and wife.

        The usurping of authority over a husband, by his wife is what this instruction is all about. As discussed before, when Adam sinned against God, he did so by listening and putting the words of his wife before God’s word. It is absurd to think that just because Eve was deceived, that all women can be deceived. Instead, it is my belief that Paul was instructing Timothy on how the congregation should operate – where no wife would try to act authoritative over their husbands, trying to teach the man the right way (This is not to say, that wives could guide husbands from a wrong path towards the light. The context of this particular verse is that a husband who is already righteous and obedient to God’s word should not be subjected to correction by a wife who “thinks” she is right, especially in front of the congregation). It is likely, that Paul is speaking of a case which Timothy had brought to his attention, of a particular woman who was exacting authority over the husband in one of the congregations he was part of.

        Be a blessing to everyone around you!

  4. Marie

    This is kinda how I look at gender roles, etc.:

    Back then, the role of a “helper” was a lot more looked up on. Christianity looked up upon women more and gave women more privileges than everyone else in the culture did.

    The Bible does state that without woman, man is nothing. And leading women is not just a privilege, it’s a responsibility, meaning that God will be disappointed and maybe even mad at a man if his wife or children sin. God was mad at Adam when his wife, Eve, sinned, and especially mad at Adam for being deceived by Eve.

    My geography teacher is newly married and frequently talks about how he is struggling to lead his wife and how it really isn’t that easy nor an advantage to be the head of her. He knows that he must lead her in a righteous and loving way. He knows he has a responsibility he must fulfill.

    Having authority over a wife should be a responsibility, not something to take advantage of, because God commands men to love their wives. Women should choose to marry a man who loves her and wants to lead her in God’s way, not boss her around or command her to do things.

    I may have repeated myself too much, sounded confusing, or didn’t explain well enough, but this is the best I can for now.

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Marie,
      I think these cannot be repeated enough. As I mentioned on the post, having authority over your wife is not a weapon to be used… it is a service. Much like a president – even though he/she is the head of the state, he/she is the servant of the people he/she guides. It is definitely a responsibility, not a title you can wave around to show superiority!

      May you be a blessing to everyone around you!!

      Reply
      1. Anne

        If a husband demands that his wife is under his God given authority in all things, even if he is committing domestic violence and/or verbal abuse and disrespect (which sometimes cuts much deeper than physical abuse) against her, does Scripture command that she has to obey her husband in all things, even if he is breaking his side of their marriage covenant (to love his wife as himself and to honour her as his equal in grace) by his treatment of her or in what he demands of her? I have been seeking a Scripture based answer to this question but cannot find anything specific on the issue. There are some who believe that abused wives should stay with their husbands and be obedient to them. There are others who do not believe in divorce under most circumstances, yet believe that God does not require a woman to remain at risk in such a situation, and so advocate freedom for her to separate from her husband for as long as he is abusive towards her, or even to divorce based on his betrayal of their marriage covenant by abusing her. The only texts that I can find that come anywhere close to touching on divorce or separation in the New Testament, is where Jesus says “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” and where Apostle Paul writes “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” Can you think of any other Scriptures that may deal with this kind of situation? In this kind of relationship, the headship of the man is used as a excuse to control and subjugate his wife, rather than to serve and to love her as his partner in grace. I am well aware, however, that Christ does not divorce us, the Church Bride, even though we sin against him and put him to shame often.

      2. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Anne,
        There are no direct answers or quotes you can use to answer this question using the Bible, as far as I know. I believe a husband has no authority or right to treat his wife in anyway else other than with respect and love. And Paul clearly speaks about mutual respect as part of married life.
        1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
        Eph 5:25-28 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.

        When God created the marriage Covenant, He did not want that Covenant broken. But that being said, He allowed divorce in extreme cases such as adultery.

        Abuse is never tolerated by God. He speaks even for the Fatherless, the Widow and the Stranger.

        And dealing Treacherously (deceitfully, offend, faithlessly) towards your wife is seen by God as a great sin as per Mal 2:13-16 And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

        God says that He acts as the witness between husband and wife. He makes them one. And He demands faithfulness from the Husband. He demands Love towards the Wife. He says that He brings punishment to husbands who discard their wives faithlessly.

        So even though abuse whether verbal or physical is not spoken of in the Bible, it is not a stretch to say that God demands commitment, love and respect from the Husbands. And He will bring judgement upon husbands who misuse the authority they are given. It can also be argued that such husbands are not husbands at all – as if they were truly one flesh, they would not abuse themselves by abusing their wives.

        Be a blessing to everyone around you!

    2. Bobby

      Hi Marie, my name’s Bobby. I just want to say, I try to see everyone as equals. We are both humans and all I know about everyone is, we all have a beautiful purpose in life, and God is always good. Just let the holy spirit tell you what to do. Because Jesus is the only one who is right. If I ever get married, which I really don’t want to, but if it’s God’s will then I’ll obey. I would still feel as equals if I got married. Idk I’m still learning, but I love his unfailing love, and how Jesus healed me, so just listen to Jesus, who loves us no matter what happens.

      Reply
    3. Jo Lee

      Adam was not deceived by Eve, she turned and offered the fruit which he did not hesitate to eat even though he knew it was wrong, and while Eve admitted being deceived, Adam passed the buck blaming Eve ( note some men to this day tend to blame women for all their problems ) AND God both, and note she was not cursed either. God saying he will ruler over her, was not to mean something he intended or a punishment, but rather saying to her that Adam and every man will usurp Eve’s and our God given right to co rule. So from then on, life for women was mostly misery largely due to being ganged up on by prideful domineering oppressing men, and Satan himself who is at enmity with the woman. It had nothing to do with God’s ideal, but the result of mans sin. We are even told in the Bible that through one man did sin enter the world, yet women were always told that WE are the gateway for the devil? I wonder how many of the evil patriarchy actually bothered to read the Bible, as do I often wonder if this over the top feminist movement is a judgment on men for their past horrible treatment of one of God’s most beloved creations, They certainly don’t like having to walk a mile, do they.

      Reply
    4. Eric Breaux

      Being male doesn’t automatically make more wise, to lead a woman. Marriage is a partnership, it can’t work without mutual love and respect. You are not accountable for the actions of your children and adult wife, that’s an arrogant mind set. They are just as capable of thinking for themselves as you and are dealt with by God according to their own actions not yours.

      Reply
      1. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Eric,
        I have a feeling that you have not read the post before commenting on it. I am not claiming that males are wiser or that marriages are not partnerships where you have mutual respect for each other. I am in no way saying that they cannot think for themselves. But it is a fact that God has made the Husband/Father the head of the family – not to rule over his wife and children, but to guide them with love. It’s not an entitlement, but a responsibility.
        May you be a blessing to everyone around you!

  5. JohnErlo

    Hi Ramesh:

    May you kindly respond on what Dr. John MacArthur is saying below, concerning women exercising authority in the church.

    “In 1 Timothy 2, Paul addresses women in the Ephesian assembly who wanted to take over teaching roles. He wrote, “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (1 Timothy 2:11–12). Paul here defines women as learners during the worship service. They are not to be teachers in that context, but neither are they to be shut out of the learning process.

    While it may seem obvious to us that women should be taught God’s Word, that was not true for those (like some at Ephesus, cf. 1 Timothy 1:7) who came from a Jewish background. First-century Judaism did not esteem women. Although they were not barred from attending synagogue, neither were they encouraged to learn. Most ancient religions—and even some religions today—perceive women as unworthy of participating in religious life. Unfortunately, that historical treatment of women continues to incite modern feminism.

    The traditional treatment of women in Ephesus partially explains why some of them in the church overreacted to their suppression by seeking a dominant position. Paul rebukes them for that. Before he does, however, he affirms their right to learn.

    In 1 Timothy 2:11 Paul qualifies the way in which women are to be learners: They are to “quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.” “Submissiveness” translates hupotagē, the noun form of hupotassō, which means “to line up under.” In the context of the worship service, then, women are to be quiet and be subject to the church leadership.

    Some have tried to evade the plain meaning of the text by arguing that “quietly” refers to a woman’s meek and quiet spirit. Women, they contend, can preach or teach as long as they do it with the proper attitude. Others go to the opposite extreme and use this text to prohibit women from ever talking in church under any circumstance—even to the person she is sitting next to! Neither of those options is valid, however. The context makes the meaning of “quietly” quite clear.

    In verse 12, Paul defines what he meant: “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.” Women are to keep quiet in the sense of not teaching, and they are to demonstrate submission by not usurping authority.

    The Greek word translated “allow,” epitrepō, is always used in the New Testament to speak of permitting people to do what they want. Paul’s choice of words implies that some women in Ephesus desired to teach and have authority. In today’s church, as in Ephesus, some women are dissatisfied with their God-given roles. They want prominent positions, including opportunities to exercise authority over men. There is only one biblical way to handle those situations for the good of everyone concerned, and that is to do what Paul did. He directly forbade women from taking the authoritative pastor-teacher roles in the church.

    Paul also forbids women from exercising “authority over a man.” The Greek word translated “exercise authority over,” authentein, appears only here in the New Testament. Some have attempted to evade the force of Paul’s prohibition by arguing that authentein refers to abusive or destructive authority. Women, according to this view, can both teach and exercise authority over men so long as it is not abusive or destructive. [1] Others claim it carries the idea of “author” or “originator,” thus Paul is actually saying, “I do not allow a woman to teach or proclaim herself author of man.” [2]
    In a study of the extrabiblical uses of authentein, however, Dr. George Knight concludes that the common meaning is “to have authority over.” [3] Paul, then, forbids women from exercising any type of authority over men in the church, including teaching.

    These instructions to Timothy echo what Paul earlier commanded the Corinthians: “As in all the churches of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says . . . it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church” (1 Corinthians 14:33–35, NIV). Many claim Paul was addressing a cultural issue in Corinth—nothing that ought to concern our contemporary culture. But they fail to let the text speak for itself: “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches” (1 Corinthians 14:33–34, NIV). That isn’t a cultural issue; it is God’s standard for all churches.

    The context implies that the silence Paul commands is not intended to preclude women from speaking at all but to prevent them from speaking in tongues and preaching in the church. As in Ephesus, certain women in Corinth were seeking prominent positions in the church, particularly by abusing the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophesying. Yet these women, who joined in the chaotic self-expression Paul had been condemning, should not have been speaking at all. In God’s order for the church, women should “subject themselves, just as the Law also says” (1 Corinthians 14:34).

    Women may be highly gifted teachers and leaders, but those gifts are not to be exercised over men in the context of the church. That is true not because women are spiritually inferior to men but because God’s law commands it. He has ordained order in His creation—an order that reflects His own nature and therefore should be reflected in His church. Anyone ignoring or rejecting God’s order, then, weakens the church and dishonors Him.”

    Your detailed response will be highly appreciated.

    Yours in Christ,

    JohnErlo

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear John,

      I would say both 1Cor 14:34,35 & 1Tim 2:11,12 can be understood properly by looking at a few key facts. I do not believe Paul is advising women to keep quiet when learning and not be able to teach at all. I will provide my reasoning below:

      1. There were women Prophets in the 1st Century(Acts 21:9). Paul could not have been asking all women to keep quiet, if women prophets were part of the congregation.
      2. In Cor 11:5 Paul permits women to pray and prophesy
      3. Paul is writing a letter to the corinthians answering their questions and often giving advice to peculiar issues that the congregation had.
      4. Not all women have husbands whom they can ask at home… only wives have husbands (this is a key point which is missed when reading this verse)
      5. The fact that Paul mentions asking questions from their husbands at home should make it crystal clear that G1135-Goonay used here means wife and not woman. That being said, what was the issue the congregation went through? I would propose it was a question about decorum.(notice that Paul deals with matters of decorum and public order in congregational meetings in this part of the letter). If the wives were discussing/questioning their husbands about what was being said at the congregation, then and there, it would become intolerable. By asking wives to keep quiet and bring their questions to their husbands at home, Paul was enforcing the Law, which gave the husband authority over his own wife. If Paul is speaking of women in general, he would not be able to claim Scriptural authority, as the Scriptures do not give authority of women to men. Only a husband has authority over his wife according to Scripture.

      1Tim 2:11,12 is explained in a similar capacity. I would propose that Paul is yet again speaking of Husbands and Wives…. which is clear when you read the 15th verse which speaks of bringing children to this world together in the faith. If you translate G1135-Goonay as wife(which is often translated as wife in our English Bibles) and G435-Anayr as husband(which is often translated as husband in our English Bibles) the question becomes very apparent.
      Paul is saying that the wife should learn in silence and subjection without trying to teach or usurp authority over her husband.

      Furthermore, two more examples come to mind which can be used to argue this question. Priscilla who taught Apollos(Act 18:26) & Phoebe who held a leadership position (Deacon -G1249-Deeakanos).

      In conclusion, I believe both of these verses pertain to husbands having authority over their own wives and not men having authority over all women. Women were not being asked to stay quiet and submissive to men, but wives were being asked to be submissive to their own husbands.

      Hope this answers your question adequately.
      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
      1. JohnErlo

        Thanks Ramesh,

        would I be correct in stating that we seem to agree that women (either wives or daughters), are biblicaly not allowed to exercise authority over men (either husbands or fathers) in churches.

        Therefore, authoritative leadership positions such as Pastoring/shepherding/eldership, are then reserved only for men (including both husbands and fathers) and not to women (i.e. wives or daughters) – since all women are either their father’s daughter (if unmarried) or their husbands’ wives.

        Hoping that we have reached an agreement,

        Yours in Christ,
        JohnErlo

      2. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Brother John,
        I believe wives are not allowed to exercise authority over their own husbands and daughters over their own fathers, according to Scripture. (This does not mean that they keep quiet and agree with whatever the husband or father does even if it is wrong) According to my current understanding, I see no reason that a Woman could not become an elder/shepherd/pastor. Whether it be men or women, these are not titles which should be used to exercise authority over others. Rather they are roles in which you serve humbly. I believe Godly wives or daughters who serve in a congregation would never try to exercise authority over anyone… especially their Godly Husbands or Fathers. If a lady can become a Prophet or a Deacon, I see no reason they cannot serve in other roles as well.

        May you be a blessing to everyone around you

  6. JohnErlo

    Thanks Ramesh,

    I do acknowledge that women can be Deaconesses like Phoebe as servants of the church; and I do agree with you that “silent” in church does not mean women must just shut up and do just do whatever men are telling them to do – in Christ both men and women are equal spiritually.

    The only difference is in the roles, on which we both agree that daughters & wives cannot exercise leadership authority over their husbands or fathers.

    remember that the word “Overseer” refers to those who are called by God to lead His church. In the New Testament the terms overseer, pastor, and elder/bishop all refer to the same office (cf. Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5–9; 1 Peter 5:1–2). Among their responsibilities are ruling, preaching, and teaching (1 Timothy 5:17), praying for the sick (James 5:14), caring for the church, setting an example for the people to follow (1 Peter 5:1–3), establishing church policy (Acts 15:22-33), and ordaining other leaders (1 Timothy 4:14).

    . . .and please note that in Hebrews 13:17, the church is instructed to “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

    Therefore, it is clear from the above that husbands and fathers cannot be instructed by God to obey and submit to their own wives and daughters who, according to your understanding, may become elders, overseers, pastors/bishops.

    I sincerely hope that you see the biblical truth that only men can become pastors/elders/overseers/bishops and not women, as God’s very own order in His churches.

    Yours in Christ,
    JohnErlo

    Reply
  7. DustyDave

    I generally agree with your article, and the discussion is roughly what could be expected. I would like to ask a separate question.
    Like most teachings on this subject, there is a whole glossing over the change from mandatory submission to their parent’s who are responsible for them at home, and the point where they are no longer obligated to follow their parents’ guidance but are not married yet. Your statement was “When and if they leave the house of their parents as independent individuals, they are bound or subordinate to no one.” This would seem to imply that the choices of a child, either son or daughter, who has persistently defied their parents’ guidance until they could leave their parent’s home; then the parents are suddenly obligated to respect their child’s life choices. Maybe concede to attend a possible wedding (giving unspoken, tacit consent) even if the father refuses to walk her down the isle.
    For instance, if her father has been telling her for several years that he sees a problem with a boy she’s interested in and continues seeking to speak to the young man; but he is avoided and she continues the relationship; how does this relationship follow Biblical examples after the legal age of accountability and she chooses to move away from home?
    I seem to remember that neither Jacob now Isaac were strapping your 18 year olds. One was sent off to find his own wife, the other still received his father’s guidance; and the resulting lifelong consequences were greatly different.

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Dave,
      Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am just providing the details of the Authority of the husbands over their wives and the fathers over their children. There are cases such as the one outlined in the parable of the prodigal son. If a child is defiant when he/she is under the care of the parents, they can use their God-given authority. But if and when they move out on their own, even if you try to use that authority, it may not work. This does not mean you agree with them on everything… but you may need to respect their wishes or risk losing them. Obedience of a child towards their parents does not end when they are old enough to leave their parents’ care. You are right about the examples of Isaac and Jacob… and I believe a child should obey the parents’ wishes till they are married and consider their instructions even afterwards. But (to my knowledge) the Scriptures has no specific God-given Command on this. Should the child obey the father even when he/she goes out on their own? Absolutely! But can they defy the parents? sadly.. they can. I am not trying to give opportunity for Adults (in the worldly sense – 18 and above) to be disobedient to their parents. The point of the study is to show that all men do not have authority over all women. Neither God’s Word nor I advocate disobedience… especially in the case of righteous judgement made by Parents or Husbands.
      May you be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
  8. Eric Breaux

    I posted this already but it doesn’t appear anywhere, so I’m doing it with another account to see if that makes a difference.
    God never decreed in Genesis for Adam to have authority over Eve. What he did decree was for humanity in general to have dominion on Earth and all other life forms in it, never is there any specification for authoritative liberties for either gender http://www.strivetoenter.com/wim/2010/03/21/eve-usurped-adam-authority/.
    And the verse that says for wives to submit to their husbands and husband to love their wives does not mean that both love and submission are not supposed to be mutual. In the time of the new testament writing, marriage was not treated as a partnership; women were literally purchased with money to get the fathers approval to let the man marry her, this is what Jesus meant by “given in marriage” when the pharisees asked him about who’s wife the woman would be in the resurrection. And women were considered second class citizens, with far fewer legal rights than men http://whatthebiblesays.info/marriage-in-heaven/. This is why it’s commanded for husbands to love their wives, because love typically wasn’t the reason for marriage when that was written. A marriage is a partnership of two people becoming one flesh, not a dictatorship. One flesh cannot have more authority than itself.
    In the septuagint, the Greek translation of the old testament and language that the new testament was originally written in, the Hebrew word for head, rosh, when used for a position of authority, was never translated with the word kephale, the Greek word for head. It was always translated with archon in it’s place, a word that does mean a position of authority in Greek, because kephale was rarely used to indicate authority. That’s why there are scholars who doubt that a husband being the head of a wife means he has authority over her. Also if the way of God is in the spirit, not he flesh, one can wonder why someones fleshly makeup would be a standard for who has more authority in any type of relationship. https://thejawboneofanass.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/a-bad-answer-is-worse-than-no-answer-kephale-and-authority-1/ http://www.doxa.ws/social/Women/head2.html

    Reply
  9. T

    One cannot have authority over someone and be equal with the person at the same time. The whole thing makes me doubt my religion because it makes one gender basically powerless. The daughter has no say except the father agrees (but not the son), the wife has no say except the husband agrees. It’s all very confusing. With what you’re saying, a woman can make a decision as a leader in church but her husband can tell her to change it because he has “authority”. She can decide to try on an outfit or change up her look but her husband can deny her that. And since marriage is forever, this would go on forever. Seems very terrifying to me, makes me want to rethink the marriage thing, because I can not be subject to my father and then be transferred to my husband to also be subject to basically all through my life. Pls explain further.

    Reply
  10. rameshdesilva Post author

    Dear T,
    I believe you can have authority over a person and still be equal to that person. To give an example, A President has authority over his countrymen but is still an equal in every way – A Pastor has authority over the flock he/she shepherds, but is still an equal in every way. Authority is not power but responsibility. If the flock goes astray, God will keep the pastor accountable. If the pastor uses his/her calling in an unnecessary way to control people and uses his/her standing as a place of power, God will keep the pastor accountable. It is the same with the Husband/Father. Is it a great thing to be a Husband or Father? Is it a place of privilege or power? Completely the opposite. The Husband/Father will be accountable before God. If he misuses the authority, he will have to give account for what he has done. A Godly husband/father will not try to control his wife/children – rather guide them in love. If someone uses God-given authority as an excuse to demean or overpower the very people put under their care… they will have to answer to God… and that is surely a fearful thing.

    Be a blessing to everyone around you!

    Reply

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