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Does the Bible put wives in a LOWER status than husbands?

Seth writes - I know that some denominations teach that women are lower than men, but is this Biblical?

I don't think that the New Testament is anti-feminist, but I see verses by Paul saying that women should submit to their husbands, and that men are the head of the family. Clearly, these verses can mean other things, can't they?

I would not go against these teachings, even if they are what I hope they are not, but I would like to have clear information as to what the Bible's take on women is.

Can you help me out...again?

Bible Bell's Reply

Nowhere does the Bible say that women are lower than men. Nowhere!

However, it is a Biblical fact that God has assigned husbands and wives different RESPONSIBILITIES within the family unit. Read on...

   
The Role of Husbands
God has ordained husbands to be the spiritual leaders in Christian families.
  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Eph 5.23

Right from the beginning of the human race, God placed full responsibility for spiritual headship on the shoulders of the male of the species.

God assigned Adam -- ONLY Adam -- the following responsibilities...

  • Working: Tending the Garden
  • Protecting: Keeping the Garden
  • Obeying: Not eating from the forbidden tree
  Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

And the LORD
God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Gen 2.15-17
The Accountability of Husbands
God gave Adam headship of the family, yes. But God also held Adam ACCOUNTABLE for his family's conduct.

Read the verses in the panel alongside. Notice that God places full accountability for original sin on Adam's shoulders, NOT Eve's.
  Through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of
the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Rom 5.12, 5.14
The Role of Wives
Yes, wives are commanded to submit to their husbands. However, submission by a wife does NOT mean that her husband is her ruler...
  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Therefore,
just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Eph 5.22, 5.24
  • As shown in the panel alongside, rulership of the wife by the husband was part of the CURSE.
  To the woman He (God) said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception. In pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Gen 3.16
  • That curse has been REMOVED!
  • It has been nailed forever to the cross by the atoning death of Christ Jesus.
  Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree") Gal 3.13

(
Jesus has...) wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Col 2.14
 

The Meaning of "Submit"
If "submit" does not mean "being ruled," what then DOES it mean?

To better understand Biblical "submission" consider this example...

  • You are driving the automobile. I am a passenger.
  • We are on our way (let's say) to church.
  • I may comment about the route you choose.
  • I may comment about the safety of your driving.
  • But I must NOT grab the steering wheel and try to take over control. The outcome of such an action on my part would likely be a crash.

In point of fact, a car with two drivers wrestling each other for control isn't twice as safe. Rather, it is in twice as much DANGER!

continued

 

In the preceding example, I "submit" myself to you as the car's driver...

  • Even though you have the wheel, I am no less a person than you are.
  • I am not your slave or servant, but I AM submitted to your judgment.

Such, also, is the case in a Christian marriage...

  • God has decreed that the husband is the "driver" of the "marriage-automobile."
  • The wife may comment and suggest, but she must NOT grab the wheel. If she does, the marriage may very well end up in a ditch.
  • This type of submission does not make the wife a servant or slave to her husband, any more than I would be a servant or slave as a passenger in a car.
     
God's Standards for Marriage
God's standards for the marriage relationship include only one requirement for wives, but THREE requirements for husbands...
   

Standards for a Wife

  • #1 - She must be willing to live her life for him.
  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Eph 5.22

Standards for a Husband

  • #1 - He must be willing to give his life for her.
  • #2 - He must love her just as Christ loved the church. This means UNCONDITIONAL love!
  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself (died) for it Eph 5.25
  • #3 - He must honor her, and be understanding.

To the husband the Bible says: "Watch it, Buster!"
Notice that 1 Peter 3.7 tells the husband (in effect): "If you DIShonor your wife and you are NOT understanding toward her, God won't listen to you."

This is indeed a stern warning!!!

  Likewise you husbands, dwell with them (your wives) with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
1 Pet 3.7

For wives, a final message
Wives, be aware that the standards God has placed on your husband are equally as high as the standard He has set for you.

You and your man may not always meet God's standards. But if the two of you always strive to do so, then both your lives will be greatly blessed.

As for submitting to the spiritual leadership of such a man, it will be FAR from demeaning...

  • It will be joy!
  • It will be lovely!
  • It will be anointed by God -- the very same God who invented men and women and marriage and kids and family and all the other GOOD STUFF!
   
In closing
Finally... our visitor's message asks if the Bible gives a secondary role to women. God's answer to this question is printed in the panel alongside.

Nothing more need be said. Amen
  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3.28

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