What? Was there just a collective gasp from all the females on the planet? Please don’t take away my “female card” just yet.
Yes, I remember the song: I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar. I do believe in equal pay for equal work. But if you have been following for some time, you know that it is the Bible that frames my worldview.
The position I take most likely would not even be welcomed in some churches today. As a female, we have always sort of cringed when the topic of submission would come up, as it pertained to wives submitting to their husbands. Some believe this position is chauvinistic and was created by men who wrote the Bible for men.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God. My brother who is a pastor used to have the congregants hold up their Bibles before he preached a sermon and repeat:
“I believe the Bible is inerrant in its content, absolute in its authority, and complete in its revelation.”
He told me later that this was a statement from seminary, but I find it so declarative. If I doubt it for one wit, then there is no power nor authority in the Word; it would have no bearing on my life.
Unless, we believe the Bible is God’s word, then this discussion would be moot.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16,17 KJV
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. II Peter 1:20, 21 KJV
So what does the Bible say about submission? A lot! Let’s take a look at a couple.
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:21
Did you know that we are all expected to submit to one another because we fear God? This scripture is consistent with Philippians 2:3 where we are exhorted to esteem others better than ourselves, to not insist on our own way.
Ephesians 5 continues the submission discussion with wives:
Wives submit yourselves to 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 savior of the body. 24 Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24
Was that painful? Actually, we all believe in submission, right? Don’t we all submit to the laws of the road? You do yield the right of way at the upside-down triangle road sign, don’t you? If we are working, we all have a boss to whom we submit. So why is submission such a reprehensible word?
Submission is about order versus chaos. If there were no rules, or laws chaos would exist, and God is not the author of confusion. He is about order, and peace. Because women are to submit to their husbands does not diminish their value in any way. God is not a respecter of persons. In fact, in Christ there is neither male nor female, we are one in Christ Jesus.
The submission defines our roles, much like described in the scripture in Ephesians where we see the husband is the head of the wife, yet the head of every man is Christ, as described in I Corinthians 11:3.
Why must the woman be the one to submit? All we need to do is look at the beginning in the Old Testament, Genesis 2:18 to find our purpose, and also in the New Testament, according to the scriptures:
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 11:9, 10
I know that this is totally counter-cultural to how we believe today. But we can look to Christ as a perfect example of submission.
Let this mind be in your, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; 8 And, being found in fashion as a men, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8
I admit that it is not always easy. Sometimes it is very hard, but we do it because we love them and we love God. We do it because it is what God ordained, commanded. We were created to be the help mate. Yes we have opinions, very strong opinions and feelings, and should give our husbands the benefit of our perspectives. We help them!
Submission doesn’t have to make us cringe when we remember that submission is about order, function, and ultimately obedience.
What does the Bible say about a woman’s place in the church? Let’s discuss that in the next post.