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Marital Submission and the Bible

Since our last discussion on men and women I’ve spent a lot more time thinking, studying, talking to co-workers, and trying to make progress with a problem that I believe creates confusion among ourselves and misunderstanding in those who are not yet followers of Christ.

I realize that by coming back to the subject of marital submission so soon, I may be testing your patience. But I also need your feed-back and counsel… especially on anything that you do not believe is true to the words and intent of the Bible.

But, if you’ve had your fill of the subject, here’s what some of my co-workers are saying on other issues :-)…






So, now… for those of you who are willing to do some more thinking with me on why the Bible asks women to submit, here’s another attempt to net out the issues. Again, please let me know if you don’t understand or agree with my conclusions and how I’m getting there. As I’ve indicated a few times before,

Over the years I’ve wrestled with the fact that, when it comes to marriage, followers of Christ have different ideas about what the Bible asks of husbands and wives.

Even though the Apostles Paul and Peter wrote letters urging husbands to love their wives, and wives to submit to their husbands, many of us have different ideas about what their counsel should look like today.

One thing we know is that the Apostle’s words would have sounded different to readers in first century Roman and Jewish worlds than they sound to many of us today. In Paul’s day, men ruled their homes and women were regarded as property.

One of the first rules of Bible interpretation and application is to consider what a text meant to its author and first readers. The historical and grammatical context of a Bible passage is foundational to the way it needs to be understood and applied to our own day.

So let’s review what we know first about marriage in light of the whole Bible and then look at what the Apostles’ words would have sounded like in their own day.

In the beginning, Genesis shows us that God made man and woman, in his own likeness. While being distinctly male and female, they were to reflect the oneness and unity of God in marriage (2:24).

First, he created Adam from the dust of the earth. Then, from one of Adam’s ribs (2:18), he created Eve as a “helper.” The term “helper”  represents the same Hebrew word that the Bible uses in more than 15 other places for God our “helper” (Psalm 70:5).

Genesis gives us no reason to think of Eve as inferior to Adam. She was made of his own flesh, not as a mere assistant, but as a mysteriously created counterpart and complement. Together Adam and Eve were made to trust and rely on God their “helper.” Together they were made to have dominion over all he had entrusted to them, and together they were asked to multiply his likeness in the earth.

After the Fall, this perfect union was damaged. From the moment the first couple stepped away from God, Adam and Eve were not the man or woman they used to be. They had lost their nothing- to-hide relationship with God and one another.

Immediately they began to make excuses for their own mistakes. Seeing what they had done to themselves, the Lord said to Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16).

From the way  “desire” and “rule” show up again in the next chapter (4:17), we have an indication of what the fall had done to the couple. Because of their loss of innocence, the woman would now desire to control the husband for her own interests, but he would misuse his strength to rule over and dominate her.

Down through history many have seen this introduction of husband-rule as God’s remedy for a broken relationship. But a closer look shows that it was God’s prediction rather than his prescription.

The anticipation that a man would become the master of woman comes with the consequence of weeds in the garden, multiplied pain in childbirth, and the eventual certainty of death (3:16-19). All of these consequences, including marital struggle and the misuse of strength would now require work to resist.

Together the story of the creation and fall help us answer an important question. If the ideal is that, together,  men and women reflect the unity and Oneness of the Godhead, and if the misuse of strength is to be regarded like weeds, extreme pain in childbirth, and death, then why does the New Testament later urge wives to submit to their husbands, and husbands to see themselves as the head of the marriage relationship (Ephesians 5)?

The wisdom of God: As Jewish men, Paul and Peter understood the facts of the creation and fall. As followers of Jesus they knew what Jesus had said about relationships. In his kingdom we are all to give one another the consideration that we would want for ourselves (Matt 22:39). In addition, those who rule are to be as those who serve (Luke 22:25-27).

Paul and Peter approached relationships just as Jesus had. Instead of trying to overthrow the social order, they planted seeds of change that would work from the inside out.

Since it was the social responsibility of first century husbands to rule their homes, Paul gave them a new way of thinking about what it means to be a head. He described how Christ as head of the church had sacrificed his own interest for his “bride and body.” Using the attitudes of Jesus as his example, Paul challenged husbands to care for their wives as they naturally cared for and protected their own bodies.

In his words to wives, Paul took a similar approach. He started with the social order they understood. Then he gave it a new heart and purpose. Instead of submitting to their husbands to avoid being divorced or beaten, he urged them to submit themselves in a way that would enable them to cooperate and help their husbands, while showing the difference Christ was making in them.

The word Paul used for “submit” was sometimes used for soldiers who were required “to arrange themselves in a military fashion under the command of a leader.”  But marriage is not a military relationship. In other contexts the word for submit involved “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden” (Thayer and Smith Greek Lexicon). That meaning better expresses the relationship of mutual love and respect where both husband and wife voluntarily use what God has given them for the good of the other… and so that, even more importantly, their relationships would enhance rather than detract from the name and reputation of Christ (Titus 2:5; 1Tim 5:14; 1Tim 6:1).

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114 Responses to “Marital Submission and the Bible”

  1. flanrak says:

    The word “desire,” in both Genesis 3:16 and 4:7 mean (Strong’s H7783) “in the original sense of stretching out after; a longing: – desire.”
    This same word is used again in Song of Solomon 7:10 as a sexual desire — “a longing for.”
    As I understand this word is does NOT mean “wanting to control.” What God is saying there in Genesis 3:16, is that Eve (and all women) will long after their husband’s affections — they want to be the center of their husband attention, but their husbands will want to rule over them. That’s the curse remember, and to this day: men DO want to dominate women.
    As another part of the penalty of sin, God goes on to say, is that Adam (men) will have to work hard for a living.
    So to look at this verse (Genesis 3:16) from our present day, women want more attention (time with) and affection from their husbands, but their husbands have other priorities — every woman knows that her husband’s job has priority over her. Career is much more important, generally speaking, to a men than to women.
    This is not the way God created us to be, but part of the curse. We should struggle against it, not accept it!

  2. Charis says:

    I have studied all of the words and passages a great deal and meditated and blogged about “A Wife’s Submission” and I think you have some great insight. The one section which I notice immediately which seems to me to need more thought and fine tuning is the same one flannak observed on the meaning of “desire”.

    When I first heard that theory that “your desire shall be for your husband” was being interpreted as “your desire shall be to control your husband” I assumed it was written by a man, because I live in a woman’s skin and I have never once had the desire to control my husband. The desire to PLEASE him and to be “enough” for him- YES! The desire to CONTROL him- NO!. If women had the desire to CONTROL their husbands, why would they don burkas to please the men of their world? why would they go back over and over to an abusive husband who shows no signs of repentance? the desire of a woman is to PLEASE her husband!

    The Hebrew word translated “desire” in Genesis 3:16 is tĕshuwqah or teshuqah defined as “desire, longing, craving” with the root word meaning “to run over, to overflow”. God’s pronouncement here upon the woman is nowhere labeled a “curse” (likewise, God’s pronouncement upon the man). The word teshuqah occurs in two other places in the Bible: Genesis 4:7 and Song of Solomon 7:10. Among some circles, much is made of the fact that desire in Gen 4:7 is SIN’s desire to master Cain. Woman is painted as wanting to similarly MASTER her husband in an evil controlling sort of way However, “a woman” should not be forced to correspond with “SIN” just because both sentences contain the neutral verb “desire”. To assume a negative condemning slant on the neutral verb “desire” is unjustified. The teshuqua/DESIRE spoken of in SoS 7:10 is sexual passion in a positive light.

    This “DESIRE” of Gen 3:16 is mentioned in the context of two references to pregnancy (in just this one verse!). Its got to have a component of sexual passion. And the very same Hebrew word for desire is used in Song of Solomon 7:10 “I [am] my beloved’s, and his desire [is] toward me.” (not a case of negative desire).

    What changed with the Fall? what does God mean when HE says HE will “multiply her conception”. Looking at mammalian biology, other mammals are only interested in mating when they are fertile and their “season” of fertility is generally much more rare than that for human females (who are interested in “mating” even when infertile)…

    We don’t know what the “desire” level was before the Fall. We assume that “sex” was part of the “one flesh experience”. The first human conception occurred AFTER the Fall. Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born to Eve (Gen 5:3) and wasn’t he only the third child? We know God intended them to “be fruitful and multiply” so I am not suggesting that the woman’s post-fall increased sexual desire should be viewed as negative (although it can be extremely negative awakened before its time as Song of Solomon says in a repeating refrain) The fruit of sexual desire, frequent childbirth, and the toil/labor/pain/ sorrow of childbirth will render a woman quite dependent upon her husband for provision and could enable her husband’s fallen propensity to “rule over her”. Nevertheless, there is sweetness amid the pain(likewise for male toil, I suppose).

    Just like the pain of childbirth brings forth the joy of new life, the pain of the crucible of marriage brings forth deepening sanctification and heightened dependence upon and intimacy with JESUS. The Bible speaks of the REST women find in marriage (Ruth 1:9). Marriage books talk of of a spouse being “a soft place to fall” and marriage being a place of safety. Such “rest” and safety are sometimes lacking in earthly marriages, but upon being yoked to JESUS, upon cleaving and clinging to HIM alone, I find REST for my soul and protection for my spirit. When her DESIRE turns completely to the bridegroom of heaven, when her mind is fixed upon things above rather than things of the earth, therin lies rest.

    I have ONE main request for your re-writes, Mart, ONE thing which I hope your materials will communicate to Christian men with clarity. I have been married to a Christian husband for 27 years{ a man who has a theology degree from seminary, and has been a professor at 3 christian colleges including one on the foreign mission field. He has said to me that “Adam listening to his wife is what got him in trouble and I don’t intend to do likewise” and he has used “headship” to be the boss. For our entire marriage, he has not listened to me nor respected my input as a co-heir with Christ. He has used theology to support that. I wish your material would teach firmly that husbands MUST listen to their wives or their prayers will be hindered and they are rejecting the very HELP which God has given them. I won’t go into our personal life, but my husband has been unsubmissive to GOD and uncorrectable about it. His attitude toward women and his wife has robbed him, us, and our children. For him to read “she desires to control you” would just be another excuse to “rebel” against any of my concerns about where his bad habits will wind up taking him and us. (think of the closet porn epidemic among “christian” men)

    I noticed in your one booklet for women, you do mention Sapphira. There are very very few “real life” stories of married couples in the New Testament. Shouldn’t we pay careful attention to the ones which are included??? Among them: Ananias and Sapphira whose instructive “life and death” marriage situation can be found in Acts 5.

    The Greek word in Ephesians 5:33- translated “respect” in the NIV and “reverence” in several other versions – is the word phobeo, Elsewhere it is consistently translated fear, be afraid, be afraid of, etc. Here is the breakdown of translation choices in the AV: AV — fear 62, be afraid 23, be afraid of 5, reverence 1, misc 2

    Ephesians 5:33 “PHOBEO” is the kind of FEAR Sapphira SHOULD HAVE had for Ananias when he was lying to the Holy Spirit. She SHOULD HAVE realized that compliance with her husband was not a good plan. Appropriate FEAR of her husband’s power to bring harm upon her/them, appropriate “ezer”/help MEET/”holding her husband accountable” might have saved both their hides.

  3. Charis says:

    PS. Following Ananias and Sapphira’s death:

    “And great fear (phobos) came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” Acts 5:11

    – appropriate, healthy, previously lacking-> FEAR!

  4. SFDBWV says:

    Marriage……Permit me the freedom to explore a few thoughts.
    Outside the Judo-Christian theologies and traditions addressing the nature and union of marriage; What did other cultures do. How was the Roman family structured? The Greek? Persian? Did they marry for life? Did they marry in the sense we know at all?
    I have read Herodotus, he gives some very different accounts of the culture of many peoples. In some the women were the rulers and in an almost “Amazonian” state of societial structure.

    Whereas I believe the union of man and woman was ordained by God from the beginning of mankind. I also believe that after the fall this same union was distorted by sin. As was all of creation.

    1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ;and the head of the woman is the man;and the head of Christ is God.”
    :8 “For the man is not of the woman;but the woman for the man.”
    :9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
    (If I just stop here and look no further. I would say that the issue is clearly defined….However I know this to be a complex topic and so futher observation and discussion needs to go on, hence this string of conversation on the blog.)
    :11 “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman,neither the woman without the man,in the Lord.”
    :12 For as the woman is of the man,even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

    Galatians 3:28 says in part “…,there is neither male nor female: for ye are are one in Christ.”

    Again permit me to just let some thoughts go foreward…

    Paul is speaking to people who are both Jew and gentile. Explaining the structure and place of God and man, to people who have varrying ideas of both. I am certain Paul is attempting to unify all into a single concept of marriage and place for each individuals responsibility.

    My viewpoint of husband and wife will not change. (Ok Deborah I can see your eyes roll.) I as Husband and father am responsible for providing for and protecting my family. If I fail to do either, I fail Christ. If I cede my resposibility to another, I am a coward and not worthy of the title of head of anything. But the tail of all. My actions my attitude must be a living example to my children so they grow knowing their place in life and especialy their place in Christ.

    To blur the husband and wife’s place gives rise to confusion and confusion opens the door to many ills. Both social and psycological. There must be structure and order. God gave order to all created things.

    Please bear with me, I will have more to say a little later.

  5. Afua says:

    Ahh the struggle between man and woman, beginning after the fall. Each having heard what God said but “seeing” it from their own side. I have seen in myself (woman) the “desire” to control the man by my words and actions, with less than desirable results.
    I have seen in him (man) the “rule” to control by his actions and then words, with hurt and frustration the result.
    The difference being the woman is controlled by her emotions and the man by his mind. The woman “feels” that by use of many words and her feminine ways that he will hear and be affectionate to her. The man “thinks” by his actions (which can be domineering) that he can demand honor and respect. Only when each one submits to the control and leadership of the Lord in the study of the word and much prayer will any positve outcome come about.
    We are an “us” but we are first one before God.
    The lesson that I emphasis in my own life is from James 1: 19,20 “Understand this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness of God.”
    The struggle between both man and woman can last for a life time. The change begins with me.

  6. SFDBWV says:

    Afua, I like the way you think.

  7. mtman says:

    I think that Mart has it right and admire his courage to revisit this topic. I have posted in the past that I think we need to go back to basics and keep things simple. I have read the above postings and hope that I don’t offend anyone but some of you are communicating way over my head. I had to take breaks to finish and remain focused on the comments.
    My wife and I are presently going on 26 years of marriage. I love her more than myself. In that time together I have discovered that her wisdom on some matters, her gifts, and her abilities are far better than mine. On the other hand I have area’s of wisdom, gifts and abilities that she does not have. Together we seem to do well in todays world. I am her third husband and she is my second. My heart goes out to confused because we have both been there. My only advice is to hang tough because one day you will look back and realize God’s hand was at work even though in your pain you may not see it now. When I look back I can see (as can my wife) that prior marriages were not healthy. I can say that we love and respect each other more today than when we first married since we were both cautious coming into another relationship. When I look at our marriage it is hard to tell who is in charge because we walk as one. I guess I am far to simple to understand all of the well documented postings. I do admire your ability to think through this tough subject and articulate it in writing.
    In my case I don’t need to know how to make a watch to tell time. Our marriage has had its testy times but because we love and respect each other we worked through them. I know all marriages are not good ones; our past personal lives testify to that. This is a very difficult subject because everyone is coming from a different perspective. Therefore I hope I do not offend anyone but in my life simplicity works better for me.

  8. Charis says:

    In his book “Sacred Influence (pg 20) Gary Thomas associates the Genesis 3 DESIRE with the uniquely female propensity to tolerate cruelty, disrespect, adultery, offensiveness and still be “more afraid of waking up without him than of waking up next to him” because of a “sinful propensity to define themselves according to their likability- or acceptance- by men”.

    Thomas makes a sharp contrast between his real life female example of inordinate clinginess in the face of horrible behavior with real life male response: “Contrast this with a recent question-and-answer article in Sports Illustrated, in which a number of professional male athletes were asked if they would ever take back a “runaway bride”, a woman who left them at the altar and embarrassed them in front of their family and friends. Not a single athlete said he would. One of them responded so vehemently and colorfully that I can’t even print his answer in this book”

    I have wondered why the instruction to
    “leave your father and mother and cleave to your wife”
    is directed only to the husband? This is repeated at the creation (pre-Fall in Gen 2:24), by Jesus (Matt 19:5, Mark 10:7), and by Paul (Eph 5:31).

  9. SFDBWV says:

    Charis, I don’t think I like the way this Gary Thomas thinks…

    We all know women who stay with abusive men. In and out of marriage, and in and out of Christianity. I wonder if the psycology behind both are the same?

    We all are under grace. Grace frees us of living under the law. There are no “laws” concerning marriage in the NT. Only guidelines, or advice.

    A woman who stays under the heel of an abusive man is not “obeying” or “pleasing” God. Any more than a man who stays in a misserable condition married to a woman who attempts to hen peck and control him.
    Where is Christ-like love in any such marriages? None, only pretenses and lies which will eventually lead to the destruction of the union.

  10. Charis says:

    Hi Steve,

    I found Thomas’ book very gracious and life speaking. Like it or not, marriages are in crisis- including christian marriages, and he gives some very practical counsel of how a wife can unilaterally change “the equation of the marriage” by pressing deeply in to the Lord, growing in Christlikeness, and learning to respond to provocation in a way which is above reproach.

    I agree with you that “a woman who stays under the heel of an abusive man is not obeying or pleasing God” but she may need to leave “church” before she can figure that out because the modern day teaching on this issue of “submission” so dis-empowers her from having a voice in the marriage, and being the “help MEET” which GOD intended.
    I know I’m being a pest about this “DESIRE” issue…

    I keep stewing and thinking of more I want to say… I’ve been so HURT by the twisting and misunderstanding of these doctrines and by being JUDGED by other Christians/ even pastors as “controlling”… I don’t go to church anymore, though I still love the Lord. I just don’t think the church has a clue what it is like to be so oppressed by their teachings, to be in a marriage completely DIS-respected/WITHOUT any power or say or influence.

    A wife who says to her seminary graduate, christian college professor, never misses church on Sunday husband:
    “can you stop going out late at night drinking at bars?”
    “can you stop looking at porn?”
    “can you stop calling the children derogatory names?’

    I can’t believe that GOD set her up with some “DESIRE TO CONTROL” which puts her at “enmity” with her husband. As a matter of fact, GOD told SATAN that she would be “at enmity” with SATAN! So when she says, “can you STOP _____________?” please, please, PLEASE don’t give him theological ammunition to blame her as “CONTROLLING” instead of telling him that he should listen to her and respect her? SHE is NOT THE ENEMY! SATAN IS THE ENEMY!

  11. Loretta Beavis says:

    This is my second comment. There isn’t conflict to “submit” when a husband is a Christian husband, that is, produces “fruit” Galatians 5:22-23. I don’t have to “submit” to my husband if what he wants me to do is sin or agaist our laws. Galatians 5:19-21 describes works of the flesh, but look at verse 26 and see
    that we are not to “become conceited, provoking one another, envying one
    another. (NKJ)” My experience is the demand for submission is to provoke me.
    That is why I wrote previous that it’s a fiery dart. If my husband would be insisting I need to go to worship on Sunday or Wednesday or whatever day and
    I didn’t want to ’cause I’d rather go to horse shows, then I’m out of order, not
    him. But not watch R-rated movies, drink, profanity…I’ll take the verbal abuse.
    I don’t want to be a LUKEWARM Christian.
    In the secular world, WORDS have the power over us; and people are skill-
    full in using them to hurt, control, manipulate people; especially, when spoken or posed in a way to say more than what God said-Genesis 3:1, 4-5 (KJ).
    College professor and California Senator (the late) S. I. Hayakawa wrote a book titled “Language In Thought and Action” Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1964.
    In it he wrote that a word is not THE thing but a MAP for the thing. Our languages are symbols that stand for something else that doesn’t appear to exist so that we can communicate. The changing meanings of words is the symbolic process. Humorously an example of a word like “Suzie-Q” for me is an experience of my first horse, a beloved pet for many years. The name “Suzie-Q” today is a sweet cake snack you eat– a symbol way different
    than my Suzie-Q experience. To bring it home, we change our symbolic process-language, words, to better “fit” us. Words like submit, master, bondservant, slave of, Lord, that appear in the Bible don’t give comfort, practical example, or value to readers without a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ, our God. Today those words symbolize unauthorized dominance, negative, cruel control, inferior treatment, unGodly, unloving….When I don’t understand, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me. I eventually or sometimes immediately find out what the message is, but I often have to do the work of reading, getting the Hebrew or Greek translation of a word, attend studies, or other Christian education (I’m taking the online RBC courses now, too)-
    and really be thirsty for what God wants me to know.
    If you have no things, maybe just a missionary told you The Word of God, then just pray and ask for God to help you to discern what it “right”, He will.
    We live in a media culture, and the message has to be instant to be accepted; the message is constantly being changed and manipulated to change our behavior.
    As a follower of Christ I can’t and wouldn’t want to change the Bible, so I have to read ALL of the Bible for what the words, all together, are to mean to GROW INTO the Christian I want to be. God wants us to hear the WHOLE story, the whole sentence, the whole passageabout how much He loves all of us, not a SINGLE word standing alone and left to our flawed interpretation.
    There used to be a phrase “loaded question” meaning a question to cause an explosive emotional reaction–my friends, “submit” is a loaded word, a word, by itself, the enemy has picked out to deceive us. Eve was deceived and changed her behavior toward God. Don’t be deceived in trials and tribulations.
    If you haven’t been reading the Discovery Series Booklets and all the support RBC has to offer, please do so today. The investment of study time is fruitful. I am “doing time” in the wilderness for my disobedience to God marrying an alcoholic who promised he would quit, that he was a Christian, he wouldn’t be abusve; I couldn’t wait long enough, again, to know if either of any of these promises were true now did I heed God’s warning…
    Read your Bible and pray every day.
    I love you, Loretta Beavis

  12. slwl says:

    Thank you for leading this relevant discussion. My wife and I have been married for 25 years. Twenty two of those years I spent serving on active duty in the US Air Force. You mentioned how the word Paul used was at times used in a military context and I believe we might glean some perspective from that particular context. In the military it was my duty to line up under my commander (I had several different commanders throughout my career) and support him or her regardless of my personal opinions or motives. Submission by anyone in any situation in life requires discipline. That is to say as Jesus said to the Father not my will but yours be done. When I served in the military there were times I was not overly confident in certain commanders based on factors such as character qualities. Still it was my duty to support and submit to said commanders authority. My ability to carry this out was not based solely on the particular commander but on my faith in Gods sovereignty and His ability to do His will regardless of the circumstances. Submission is far from an indication of weakness. It takes strength and faith to submit.

    I once knew a woman who was a jet pilot and she shared with me how she was preparing for her upcoming wedding by learning to be submissive. That was a tremendous example to me of submission. You see she had no need of anyone to take care of her or lead her as she was a leader in her own right. But she had a conviction to bring to her marriage a spirit of cooperation and a willingness to allow her husband under Gods leadership to lead their home.

    Submission is an act of the will and as with anything in the Christian life it must be done by faith in a God who is completely trustworthy even if those around us are not always completely trustworthy.

  13. Mart De Haan says:

    Charis, I appreciate you pushing back on the meaning of desire. The last thing I want to do is feed into the ways too many of us have used to shut women down.

  14. poohpity says:

    Hey Steve, I did not role my eyes, I smiled in adoration.

    mtman, it seems that you have it simply put and displayed a lot of wisdom. Keep It Simple Saint (KISS).

    Mart again the Spirit of our Lord resonates in your words.

    I believe again if folks take just what they want to prove their point then the full meaning of scripture gets lost and abused. It seems that no matter what kind of relationship we have the fulfillment of the law and the prophets is still summed up with love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself and nothing can come against that. So with any relationship if this is what you are trying to achieve then it will result in the Fruit of the Spirit.

    If I were to ever get married again I would do whatever it took to benefit my husband and hopefully he would do that in return. Love means seeking the highest good of the one loved as was shown by Jesus to us. So put it anyway you like but for me and my house we will serve the Lord and bring honor and glory to HIS name in our imperfect way.

    It seems if we are arguing over who is the head then we have no time to serve and reflect the Love of Christ.

  15. sitsathisfeet says:

    Mart Who is the picture of, anyone related? They look so happy! It’s interesting slwl’s analogy to military submission. At the risk of repeating myself when my daughter joined the navy she remarked her best preparation was done at Christian school, God’s rules, submission to God’s authority and sovereignty – and that God never misses the smallest details. I think the submission in marriage is important as unto the Lord, yielding and obeying. However, first we must have that relationship with the Lord and be in the Lord as a union for this co-submission to be fulfilled. When one of us is out of the relationship, or does not have a “right” relationship with the Lord or each other we have a broken relationship and it is not pleasing to God. I believe we must submit to the Lord, but also to each other. The scripture that comes to mind is,Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift. Ultimately it starts with us individually male or female. We must ask for forgiveness, and we must forgive, then we will be spiritually restored and ready to go on from there. This to me is the ultimate submission.

  16. Wordgazer says:

    Afua said,

    The difference being the woman is controlled by her emotions and the man by his mind.

    There is no basis for this understanding in the Bible. Rather, it is a medieval concept which has since been completely overturned by modern research.

    Men and women do appear, in general (though not in every specific case) to have diffences in the way their reasoning and their emotions interact; men tend to find it easier to “compartmentalize” while women’s approach to issues is more holistic. But he is not a reasoning thinker while she is an emotive reactor. There is no chapter or verse of the Bible that supports this at all. The closest anyone can come is the verse in 1 Tim 2 which says that Eve was deceived and Adam was not– and then extrapolating this to think it means all women are more easily deceived than all men (which the text never says). But even if you read this idea into that text, it still does not say women are controlled by their emotions and men by their minds.

  17. Wordgazer says:

    Mart, I appreciate you very much– your openness, your willingness to listen to all sides on this matter, your reluctance to come to a too-hasty conclusion. Kudos to you!

    I agree with Charis and others who have disagreed with the word “desire” in Gen. 3 to mean “desire to control.” Science has shown that the hormone oxcytosin in women is a bonding hormone that causes her to desire to “cling” to her intimate partner. I suspect the Genesis word “desire” has something to do with that. The word in the ancient Hebrew also meant “turning towards,” which would seem to indicate a tendency of women to turn towards their husbands rather than towards God.

    I still disagree that there is any reason to assume the word “head” in Ephesians 5 necessarily gives an eternal mandate to the husband to “lead” the wife. Male rulership was common in that culture, but my own marriage works very well with neither of us considering the other the “leader,” but being led together by Christ. I still “submit” to him, he still “lays down his life” (as in sacrificing his own desires) for me — which is also a form of submission (according to the opening “submit to one another” language in Eph 5:21). We have been married 21 years and, like mtman above, our marriage is characterized by walking as one rather than focusing on someone being in charge. Best friends don’t need someone in charge– why can’t husband and wife be like best friends?

  18. mtman says:

    Wordgazer: So very well stated. I was fortunate and I married my best earthly friend.
    Poohpity: I really like your writing – you make very good sense to me. Thank you..

  19. poohpity says:

    Wordgazer, I believe they can be best friends and soul mates to achieve a common goal to glorify God. This is the ideal relationship and a reflection of what I believe God intended.

  20. Wordgazer says:

    Thank you, Mtman and Poohpity.

    Mart spoke of what a person in the original culture would have heard Paul saying. The word “head” (kephale) did not automatically bring the idea of “ruler” or “leader” to mind to someone speaking ancient Greek. They would first hear the meanings “prominent one” or “source.” In a culture, then, where the husband was in authority over the wife, the use of the word “kephale” (head) rather than “arche” (ruler/leader) would have stood out. They would have understood Paul to be saying something different than what they would expect– something counter-cultural.

  21. rokdude5 says:

    The foremost question I have in this, is why do I want to submit to my wife and vice versa? Because she said so? Again, in my mind, pure and simple. God wants me to, as His Son submit to His Father and the Church to Jesus. But not because just a proclamation from God but because of Love.

    Jesus submitted to His Father when He LET HIMSELF be crucify for us and all because of His Love for us. If we truly love our spouse and God, then how can we not submit to one another?

    What interesting, I decided to memorize the 10 Commandments. When I came across Exodus 20:8-10 –

    Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates.

    Though servants and children were mentioned, wives were left out. At first blush, was Moses making sure that his laundry and Sabbath meals will still be done?

    Or perhaps would a better reading be that “you” implies married couples since husbands and wives were considered as “one” in God’s eyes? I truly think the more loving and Godly gesture would be the latter.

  22. SFDBWV says:

    charis, You got a mess. I am sorry. I pray for answers for your situation.

    I raised a foster daughter, from her early teens through college. Her father was guilty of incest, I helped put him in jail for it. While involved with the process one of many things I learned was how pornography at every level is food for the sex offender. Your husband needs serious help. I will pray for him also.

    To all,
    The comments Paul made always seemed simple to me. The order of things spelled out. God is the head of Christ, Christ the head of the Church, husband is the head of his wife. But I know human nature (evil) corrupts every good thing.

    As I read over all the biblical advice about the relationship between husband and wife. The relationship is always compared to the relationship between Christ and the Church.

    Christ offers unconditional love to His Church. In order to provide a way for eternal salvation from sin and hell, He dided on the cross of Calvary. Christ offers eternal provision to His Church, and asks for nothing in return except believing in and on Him.

    Through Christ’s actions, He has earned the respect due Him as Head of the Church.

    The Church should then have no problem submitting to His autority. As Head.

    For a husband to “earn” the respect from his wife to be called “head” and her submission to him as such. He then must live the example Christ provided for him.

    Becoming a husband, doesn’t come with a license to be head of the union. The husband is now required to follow Christ’s example as head of the Church in order to be head of the marriage uniion. Action not words.

    As I strain at saying what I want, I am reminded of an old saying….If you want your lady to treat you like a king, then treat her like a queen.

    To all of you who have had to grow up in the wrong marriages, my heart bleeds for you. For all who have found your match made in Heaven, I rejoyce with you.

  23. abe says:


    Can you answer a question I have. I know that the word “head” used in Eph. 5 is from the Greek word “Kephale.” But kephale doesn’t mean either leader or authority. So why then do Christians keep saying “head” means leader or authority, when in the original Greek it doesn’t. Yet we hear this over and over again.

  24. abe says:

    Another question – are you saying that Peter and Paul are telling women to submit to their husbands because that was what was expected of them in their culture? Anotherwards, it is not an eternal command from God that only wives submit but rather Peter and Paul telling them how to respond in their environment. That’s what you seem to be saying.

  25. abe says:


    Check out the Liddell Scott Greek lexicon. The word translated as “head” in 1 cor 11:10 and in Eph. 5 does not have the meaning of leader or authority in the original Greek.

  26. daisymarygoldr says:

    Mart, you have portrayed the perfect picture of a Godly marriage with good scriptural support. You have rightly said that it is God’s description of marriage in a fallen world. God, in His mercy has also provided the prescription… in Jesus Christ who showed what it means for a man to be a servant leader. God also inspired holy men like Paul and Peter to address some of the practical issues relating to a Christian marriage. Hence, this is not human wisdom…and Jew or non Jew, God’s truths apply eternally to each one of us who calls on the name of Christ.

    The question is: How does one apply God’s prescription-truth for marriage today, to a Christian culture living in the 21st century? We can think and converse forever on this blog about our personal opinions on marriage …God’s opinion is what really matters. Mart, from your marriage of 40 years, how will you teach this subject to the church in this country? How would you preach the message of faithfulness to abide by a covenant… regardless of expectations not met and needs not fulfilled?

    Servant leader does not imply a servant follower who follows the wife around like a slave, does it? How would you specifically teach Christian men to be responsible heads and lead with selfless love? How would you address a heart-breaking situation like Confused’s from “marriage disconnect?” …who is so in love with her husband and cannot contemplate separation? What do you want to impart to women who think they are no longer “in love” with their husband of 33 years and are very much attracted to a man who has a wonderful wife of his own…Also, what will you tell those errant ones who quote scriptures to encourage others to divorce when love or “desire” appears to be missing in the marriage after 33 years?

  27. daisymarygoldr says:

    Divorce, certainly was never the answer…it only provides an excuse for men and women who are swift to abandon the sinking ship in order to satisfy their selfish lusts …which then rips innocent children of a stable, sheltered and happy home. Mart, as a leader, what measures would you undertake to lighten the burden of women who silently suffer …when forced to function against their natural self… to be the “man” of the household?

    Most importantly, through this blog… how will you help people understand God’s purpose for an earthly marriage… which prepares us for the heavenly mystery involving the marriage of Christ and His bride? That Christ is the head…we submit and follow… and He does not follow us His sheep. Mart, you have no choice but to be bold and speak up… not your opinion but God teaches us about this. With the world and its wisdom heavily polluting the sanctity of the church, the marriage situation within the church here is too pathetic…for you and the other leaders to remain silent. Who knows but that you have come to your “royal” position for such a time as this?

    Aside: Was that talk radio? Did I take quotes out of context? Did I add a spin? Was the truth stretched? Tell me and I will retract…but please, don’t shoo me off to another blog site!

  28. mtman says:

    Way to go Daisymarygoldr: That is why I missed you those few days you did not post. My heart went out to confused too. You have an inquiring mind and fresh and different way of looking at things. Glad you are back and running 100%.

  29. poohpity says:


  30. abe says:


    How would you specifically teach Christian men to be responsible heads and lead with selfless love?

    The word “head” in the original Greek does not mean either leader or authority. Why do you give it that meaning when is not supported by the original Greek?

    To tell a couple that head means “leader or authority” when the underlying Greek doesn’t support that just confounds me. Why do Christians continue to do this?

  31. abe says:


    Are you going to continue to tell people that head means leader when the underlying Greek does not support it? Why are you doing this?

  32. daisymarygoldr says:

    mtman, I enjoy your posts and learn so much from your deep insights… been praying for your son everyday…

    abe, Thank you for providing the Greek word “Kephale”! Sounds very similar to the medical term “cephalo” -Latin for head!
    Christian husbands are called to be like Christ. Christ loved the Church and gave His life for the church. Therefore, Christ is the head of the body, the Church. This means-

    – Christ is “before” all things and we submit to His
    – Christ has all “authority” under heaven and on earth.
    – Christ “rules” the heart of a Christian.
    – Christ is the “leader” and we are His followers.

    abe, do you disagree with what the Bible says about Christ? Did He not love each one of us who were dead in our sins? Did He not lay down His life to give us eternal life? Does His love not compel us to submit to His Lordship? Don’t let this frustrate you, abe… God’s Holy Spirit will continue to teach and tell…and one day you will surely get to know the real meaning of head, okay? I’ll be praying for you…

  33. drumstikkgirl says:

    One problem here is that in terms of the headship word use in scripture there is also the possibility of a misuse of the analogy. An analogy compares like items, not the same items. In terms of the scripture comparing husbands to Christ is obviously not a perfect analogy. Christ saves, husbands do not, Christ is perfect, husbands are not. It seems clear to me that Paul is using a concept that people in the audience would be familiar with, whether or not head means source or authority. The point here is to submit to everyone.


    you have yet to answer abe question as why do you use the head meaning authority when this is not the case in the original Greek. Secondly, you seem to be a tad condescending, which is not beneficial to any Biblical discussion.

    In response to what phillip posted earlier in the comments:

    If Paul wanted the husband to be the only spiritual leader of the home and lead everywhere (even in cases he is not suited for), he certainly would have said it, but he didn’t. This would be poor advice, and therefor bad leadership for “leader” to purposely ignore another person who is better suited in some areas in favor of his own leadership. Obviously Jesus would not submit authority over the church to the people as we are not all knowing or even sinless. Husbands however, are neither. It’s obvious to me the exact literal interpretation of the analogy “headship” could never be used to it’s full potential. The scripture also says submit to one another.

    Lastly I would ask daisymarygoldr why do you make it sound like the head ship view of marriage is the only relationship that prepares us for Jesus in heaven. It is clear from scripture that you don’t have to get married to be a son of God. Again this phrase of the Christ and his brides are just an analogy used to make a point. If you take this literally you are also taking a recommendation for polygamy for men today since Christ has brides and husbands should be like Christ. However, many say that polygamy is not God’s way.

  34. drumstikkgirl says:

    I also find it puzzling that many are able to see that some things Paul said were to a particular people for a particular time. For example, wives covering their heads and being silent in church. However these same people are unable to see that Paul could have been giving these instructions so that the Christians in that time would have a Christian way of living in the conditions of their culture. This way there wouldn’t be a great upheaval and reversal of cultural norms that would cause more confusion in an already confusing time.

    This does not mean, however, that Christians have to live this way when the conditions of women being uneducated and treated as property are not the cultural norm.

  35. daisymarygoldr says:

    drumstikkgirl , Thank you for your comments! Sorry if I sounded condescending…it was not intentional. You are right marriage is not the only relationship that prepares us for Jesus in heaven. In fact a wife seeks to please her husband… but a single woman whole heartedly devotes her life to please Jesus right here on Earth! I agree, you don’t have to get married to be a son of God?! You are also right that literal interpretation of “headship” could never be used to it’s full potential…The husband and wife should submit to one another. It is because Christ first loved us and submitted to die for us on the cross we love and submit to Him in return.

    Christ is not the literal husband with many wives. He is the Spiritual bridegroom of His bride– the Church. Please, read 2 Cor 11: 2 or ask your Pastor to teach about the marriage of Christ in the book of Revelation. An analogy compares 2 things that are different in structure but similar in function. Christ is God in human flesh but a husband is merely human. They are not the same yet the husband is called to play a role similar to that of Christ’s relationship with His church. As you said Christ is perfect, husbands are not. Hence we should not expect our human husbands to love us perfectly or completely satisfy our needs.

    Polygamy is certainly not God’s way. He created only one Eve for Adam:)

  36. drumstikkgirl says:

    I am aware that Christ is not the literal husband, and understand it. My point was that it is a metaphor that is not taken literally or eternally. In the terms of headship, Paul used something the audience of the time was familiar with, men’s roles and marriage.

    However, you have not responded to this position, it could be advice to a particular culture in a particular time. Especially in light of the fact that there is no proof that the headship view of marriage was God’s original plan. It would make since, that we should try to get as close to God’s original plan as possible. However in cultures like the one’s Paul was talking to it would require total chaos, so he is prescribing a Biblical way to deal with the culture the audience lives in.

    Also, small nitpick, I never said polygamy was God’s way.

  37. Mart De Haan says:

    Let’s keep talking about this. It is so important that we hear one another.

    As our discussion shows, not only do cultures vary dramatically, but words like “desire”, “head”, and “submission” have a range of possible meanings.

    That’s why I believe it is so important to link our understanding to the whole story of Scripture. There’s so much to be seen if we keep in mind the original creation, the damage of the fall, and then in turn how Jesus re-interprets for us something as basic as leadership (whether given by God, culture, or occasion).

    It’s also clear that men and women can have very different “takes” on an issue. This can reflect not only our God-given distinctives and complementary capacities, but also the damage of the fall.

    (although the original post was about marriage/men and women, the issue of divorce–or taking all means to avoid it–has come into our conversation. So will include comment about it…)

    When the big picture (whole counsel of God; all Scripture is God-breathed) is considered we see how, in behalf of God, Moses allowed for and regulated divorce because of what men and women could do to one another– if they are not willing to live up to their mutual commitments. Moses never gave husbands and wives a license to be unfaithful to one another and still be entitled to marriage (as many of us have done by making the permanence of marriage the most important principle of Scripture).

    I think that if we all had a better chance to know one another, we’d also see that those among us who have endured the awfulness of divorce don’t have to be told about the consequences of failed love and unkept promises. They may say, however, that divorce can be far better than ongoing hard-hearted, hatred from either partner, or both.

    As men and women we all reflect the effects of our shared fall into sin. Through Christ, we all have capacities for great good and terrible evil. That’s one of many reasons we need to be careful that we don’t idealize our own gender or demonize the other. We are all made of the same fallen flesh.

    From time to time I’ve emphasized (what I’ve been taught) that we need to be remain conscious of the difference between impossible, possible, probable, and necessary implications of Scripture as we seek to apply timeless principles to our own lives and situations.

    We can go a long way on what we know for sure: That God made us for one another (married or not); that singleness totally devoted to God, or permanence of loving marriage, also as unto God, are the ideal; that through the fall men and women can do great harm to one another; that God has shown us through Moses that the harm and abuse that unloving men and women can do to one another can be worse than divorce; that Jesus was not disagreeing with Moses, but responding to religionists who were trying to use Moses as a selfish excuse to divorce their spouses, and that all of us who are in Christ are called to give one another the consideration we would want for ourselves, for Christ’s sake, while acknowledging the need for wisdom and that God is our judge.

    And let me end with this question: Do you think we can also say that when it comes to Christ and the church as an analogy of husbands and wives, another thing we know for sure is that the example Jesus gives husbands is his love– not his lordship…?

    Also, picture of young couple is just used from a picture file to illustrate a “modern couple”. They were unidentified in photo archive.

  38. Laraba says:

    This is my first post. I am slightly intimidated by the theological knowledge on this blog, but will post anyway in a simple way.
    My husband and I have been married for almost 12 years and we do practice what we believe to be Biblical submission. We discuss important decisions, but ultimately he makes the final call.
    Our view is that our marriage and family (we have 6 children) are like a ship on the high seas. Someone has to be the captain. 2 captains giving conflicting orders may well sink the ship. The Biblical picture is for the husband to be the captain and the wife to be, say, the first mate. We work together.
    I have a compliant, pleaser personality which makes submission relatively easy for me. (Not always, but usually.) By the grace of God, I am married to a wonderful, godly man who does respect me and listens to my concerns and values my wisdom. No couple is completely “one” all the time and we have our occasional difficulties, but 98% of the time we are a joyful couple.

    I have a friend who has a similar mental/emotional make-up to mine, and she IS married to an abuser. He has been physically abusive some, emotionally and verbally abusive a lot. She is currently separated from him, and my encouragement to her is that she needs to stay separated, or divorce, if he refuses to change.
    My belief is that we are called to love one another. That is the second of the greatest commandments. If a man is abusing his wife and children, and there are no consequences, he is living in sin, SERIOUS sin, and he needs some impetus to change. For him to be able to “enjoy” the fruits of marriage and fatherhood while abusing his family is not good for HIM. In the same way, if a man is an alcoholic, or addicted to porn, or out robbing banks in his spare time, he is in a dangerous position with respect to the Lord and I believe a wife has a responsibilty towards her husband to put some boundaries into place.
    There are clearly times in Scripture when a wife did disobey her husband and the text seems to say it was the right decision. Abigail disobeyed her husband and prevented David from slaughtering the entire family. Jael killed Sisera even though Sisera was on good terms with her husband.
    No, we are not called to blindly obey. In a normal, good marital relationship, a wife should submit. She should even submit to her husband if she thinks he is wrong, so long as he doesn’t call her to sin. For example, if a wife really thinks the family should attend her uncle’s birthday party as a way to honor him, but the husband insists on staying home because its been a crazy week and everyone is exhausted, she should submit. But if a husband is asking for her to sin, or is living a life of unrepentant sin, a wife might need to put boundaries into place for the sake of them all.

  39. drumstikkgirl says:

    Here’s a question: why is it with marriage people say that two cannot lead, but in the church model given in scripture the church is led by elders, more than on person. I am not condemning those who choose to have a traditional marriage, but I am questioning why people see this as the only way. Especially when I have posted a specific question in terms of the traditional interpretation of scripture regarding marriage in the New Testament. No one has answered why this cannot be interpreted the way I propose in earlier posts.

    It is also interesting to note that women in the Bible times were completely submissive, yet men still wanted divorces, why is it that many attribute non-submissiveness in marriage as cause for the “decline of marriage”. It’s apparent to me that even when women are treated as property divorce is still rampant.

  40. cherielyn says:

    Romans 14:19 (KJV)
    Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

  41. abe says:


    I used to believe just as you do about the husband’s role and the word head. So praying for me won’t turn me back your to you opinion. When Paul compared husbands to Christ, he did so in terms of love – not in terms of everything Christ is to the church.

    Again I want to stress that I once believed as you did, but further study of the Bible changed my mind.

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, I liked the picture of the old couple….I think I know them!

    Seriously, I am always amazed how the simplest things can become complicated by the influx of different views.
    I would suppose that’s why Jesus said to come as little children.

    Another old saying goes like this….” A camel is a horse a committee designed.”

    Adam and Eve’s union was simple. Adam (from God)needed a companion, God provided Eve (from Adam). From this simple beginning I see the relationship between Adam and Eve comparied to Adam and God. As each came out of the other.

    Sin seperated mankind (Adam and Eve) from God. Sin also seperated Adam from Eve. What had been a perfect harmony of man and woman,suddenly changed as Adam imediately blamed Eve for his failures. All of a sudden Eve found herself alone in defense of herself. Bearing the shame they both were guility of.

    In attempting to reunite the perfect harmony of man and woman as husband and wife and therefore make Adam complete again. I see the attempt a shadow of reuniting Man with God. Both healings done through God in the person of Jesus the Christ.

  43. abe says:

    Use the term “head” as the original Greek uses it, not the way the Christian community does. The original Greek does not interpret “head” as leader or authority. If it doesn’t, why are we doing it?

  44. Mart De Haan says:

    I think the mutual love and respect you describe show the wisdom of the Bible. When attitudes are right in the home, church, or even in government concern for one another is more important than how we are organized. I don’t mean to say by that that organization doesn’t matter. But when a first century Paul told servants to submit to their masters he was planting seeds of faith designed to turn servants and masters into “equals in Christ”.

  45. abe says:


    The marriage verses in Ephesians 5 don’t start at verse 22, they start at verse 21. I mention this because part of the evangelical Christian community teaches that it begins with verse 22.

    21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord

    In the earliest manuscripts of the N.T. the word “submit” does notappear in verse 22. The reason translators put “submit” in verse 22 in the English version of the Bible is because they believe it is implied from verse 21. This means the translators saw verse 22 as being a continuation of the thought in verse 21.

    When Paul asked believers to submit to one another, was he asking them to obey each other? No, I believe he was asking them to submit to the best interests of other believers. Since verse 22 is a continuation of this thought I do not believe Paul is asking wives to obey their husbands, but in a similar manner to submit to the best interests of their husbands.

    Remember in Ephesians 5 Paul tells children and slaves to obey, but he doesn’t tell wives to obey. He tells them instead to submit. This means Paul had a different meaning in mind between the word “obey” and “submit.”

    Where the Christian community makes its big mistake is confusing “submit” with “obey”. Paul makes a distinction between the two, and so should we.

  46. lgoettz says:

    We find to much in today’s society that children are being taught it is all about me (Individuality). I speak with people all the time at my work and they would rather give up a marriage then fight for it. People today in general find it hard to forgive if someone does them wrong. In the word, it says we should forgive and move forward. What does not help the situation concerning marriage today is that too many christians are throwing in the towel and not fighting to make a marriage work. As husband and wife, we must submit to each other and discuss things in order to have peace and unity in the home.

  47. mtman says:

    Laraba welcome to the forum. You make excellent points. I hope you post again and don’t be intimidated. Not having read any postings since yesterday I can see some pretty defensive positions on both sides of this issue. I really like Mart’s attempt to clarify this subject. All very good points.
    Also what I see is that some answers lack the detail that the questioner may desire or fall a little short. Isn’t that the human way! If churches are run by elders then having many in control isn’t working from my vantage point either. Some churches I see are failing badly in many instances. We have those in leadership commiting adultery and dabbling in other sins. Being an example to the world can be either good or bad. I’m not sure some churches are setting such a good example today. There is just no way to answer some of these questions properly.
    Opinions change over time based upon various circumstances. As good Christians we have the Bible to guide us in those changing circumstances. We can disagree that modern day interpetation is outdated and not relevant because of culture changes but I’ve been around for many years now and I think it is as relevant today as it was 2000 + years ago. Its only when we try to redefine it or manipulate what it tells us that we get into trouble. Answers are there but seeking specific detailed answers which are varied by changing circumstance or attitudes does not generally happen. There is a center line and while we can stagger down that center line we can’t change direction. We must stay focused on Jesus. Changing direction is called a cross road. Taking a wrong turn there can have severe conquences for us. Lucky for us that we can always back track to that center line again. Answers that may lack the specific detail we want that are followed by more questions seeking more specific answers only tend to put our back against the wall. Socratic questioning in this day and age is generally used to get a result that agrees with our opinion. In its origional form it was used to find the truth. We have the bible for that and regardless of how we interpet it “if we pray” about it the truth will be revealed to us. For my marriage we discuss matters that need decisions and I don’t ever recall over ruling my wife. We either agree or continue to pray over it until we do. Some times being unable to make a decision we both agree on is the right thing.

  48. mtman says:

    Hey Abe: I’m just a simple man who choses simple ways. Thanks for your posts but much of this is Greek to me….

  49. abe says:

    I was first introduced to the idea of female submission meaning obedience about 38 years ago. I heard all the arguments in favor of it. It amazes me to hear the same argument all these years later. Anyway after 5 or 6 years of being immersed in it I came to disagree with it.

    There are many reasons why I did that, too many to detail here. But here is one of the reasons. Ephesians 5:33 summarizes what Paul is explaining in 5:21 through 5:32. It goes as follows:

    33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    Notice in Paul’s summary he does not say husbands are to lead their wives, but instead to love their wives. He tells wives to respect their husbands, not obey them. If Paul had meant obedience when he used the word submit he could have used it in verse 33 to clarify what he meant by submission. But instead he clarifies his use of submit by using the word respect. If a wife submits to the best interests of her husband (which is how I believe Paul is using submit) doesn’t she respect him?

  50. abe says:

    Remember Paul told slaves and children to obey, but wives to submit. If Paul wanted wives to obey, why did he use submit instead?

    As an aside, I hate the fact that Paul told slaves to obey, but perhaps there were cultural reasons for that that we don’t understand today.

  51. daisymarygoldr says:

    abe, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I also like the way you are examining this subject in the light of the Scriptures…that is exactly how we should talk about Bible truths. I agree with you, submit does not mean to obey… the wife is not a child or a slave to obey her husband. Although a husband and wife are not the same, they are equal in Christ….a wife is not inferior to her husband.

    abe, I do believe in the exact meaning of “head” with reference to the husband’s role…i.e. a husband who is in the Lord. However, I am also aware of exceptions…when the husband is a non Christian or unfaithful or cannot provide or may not be alive. In these circumstances, God gives strength and grace for the wife to lead.

    drumstikkgirl, I am not a very submissive wife and it is extremely hard for me to submit to the headship of my husband. Even in my wildest dreams I can never imagine addressing my husband as “lord” like our ancestor Sarah did (1 Peter 3:6). In my opinion it is impossible for a wife today in this century and in this culture… to submit.

    However, it is not my opinion that counts. I do firmly believe in what the Bible teaches about submission. Living in a fallen world, sin does prevents me to measure up to the high moral standard of the Bible but I also trust the wisdom of God is for all times and that it is for my good…so I can live a successful life in Christ. So, abe it is now my turn to ask you… to pray for me.

  52. mtman says:

    Abe: Your recent posts are great. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you. I came to the same opinion many years ago from the same scripture. Subsequently I heard sermons and Christians continue to express it as obey and establish a pecking order within a marriage. It is sad that more people just don’t get it. maybe that has something to do with the high divorce rate these days.
    Daisy; You asked Abe to pray for you and I will too. We should all be praying for each other.

  53. abe says:

    Here’s something that might help you on 1 Peter 3:6:

    Author: Gilbert Bilezikian
    Title of Book: Beyond Sex Roles, pg. 191-2

    The example of wifely submission cited by Peter is Sarah, who “obeyed Abraham, calling him lord” (v.6). The use of Sarah as an example of obedience shows that Peter was not devoid of a sense of humor. In Genesis, Abraham is shown as obeying Sarah as often as Sarah obeyed Abraham-once at God’s behest as he was told, “Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you” (Gen. 16:2, 6; 21:11-12). Moreover, Sarah referred to Abraham as “lord” in a monologue to herself, when he was out of earshot (18:12 “lord” or “master” in the Hebrew text.)…..Sarah called Abraham “lord,” but Christian wives are never told to call their husbands “lord” anywhere in the Bible. Instead, they are to to “let nothing terrify you” (v. 6). 52 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear …” (1 John 4:18).
    The transition from wives to husbands is made with the important word translated “in the same manner.” The servant attitude modeled by Christ and required of slaves and wives is also the example for husbands (v.7)…..

    Although Sarah called Abraham “lord,” now it is husbands who must show consideration for their wives and bestow honor upon, much like a servant to his master.

    I hope this quote helps you.

    And God bless you for caring about your husband’s best interests. You are probably giving him more caring than you are aware of.

  54. daisymarygoldr says:

    Thanks a lot, mtman! You are indeed a great prayer warrior and the body really needs people like you!

    abe, thanks for your response. It is my desire to care for my husband’s best interest and it is easier said than done!

  55. Afua says:

    Wordgazer: the “medieval concept” you refer to is my very own understanding of woman and man based on my life’s experience.

    SFDBWV: I agree “Seriously, I am always amazed how the simplest things can become complicated by the influx of different views.”

    To add to the complication – look inside any marriage – Christian or not – we are likely to see that what is “acceptable” to one would not be “acceptable” in another but both would work for the individuals involved. What we “see” on the outside as being a “good” marriage, often looks quite different on the inside.

    “And let me end with this question: Do you think we can also say that when it comes to Christ and the church as an analogy of husbands and wives, another thing we know for sure is that the example Jesus gives husbands is his love– not his lordship…?”

    I agree that the one thing we know for sure, man or woman, married or single is the love of God in Christ Jesus where there is no distinction. The same Lord is the Lord over all of us.

  56. abe says:


    Here’s something else that might help you understand the meaning of the word “head” as Paul uses it in relation to the male-female relationship:

    Author:Gilbert Bilezikian
    Title of Book: Beyond Sex Roles, pgs. 277-78

    In order to understand the meaning of “head” as used by the apostle Paul, it is helpful to determine its meaning within the language spoken by Paul. The authors of works such as A Greek-English Lexicon by Henry G. Liddell and Robert Scott (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1968), or Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965, 10 volumes) have thoroughly investigated biblical and contemporary extra-biblical writings and reported that the word kephale was used in the secular and religious Greek contemporary to Paul, with the meaning of source, origin, sustainer, and not of ruler. The second century B.C. translation of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament into Greek provides a case in point. The Hebrew word for head (ros), commonly used for leader, ruler, or supreme is translated in the Septuagint by a Greek word other than “head” (kephale) over 150 times. It was much later that the word kephale began to be used as “authority” under the pressure of Latin usage, as evidenced in the writings of some post apostolic church fathers. For Paul and his correspondents the use of the word kephale as a synonym for ruler or authority would have been as meaningless as attempting to do the same today with tete in French, or Kopf in German.

    I hope this helps. If you submit to your husband’s best interests rather than obey him, you will be able to work out your marital problems better. Once again, God bless and I will pray for you.

  57. abe says:

    I am concerned because I see marriages falling apart continually that are based on the authority/submit interpretation of Ephesians 5. But while these marriages keep falling apart, the Christian community keeps teaching authority/submit model.

    And when these marriages do fall apart, either wife is accused of not being submissive enough (meaning obedient), or less often, the husband is accused of not loving enough. Perhaps if we gave Christian couples the model of a wife putting the husband’s interests first, and a husband putting the wife’s interests first there would be less divorce.

    In Ephesians 5 Paul is talking about a mutual support system based on giving, not a military relationship (authority/obey) based on who gets to make the final decisions.

  58. postonc says:

    Forgive me if I’m indifferent to the discussion on “head”, “submissiveness” or any of the other discussion pertaining to how a wife and husband are to relate to each other as I’m in the mist of battle for my marriage. I’ve been crying out to the Lord for His intercession and looking for guidance in His Word and anywhere else I can find His wisdom, including this blog. What I’ve heard is disagreements on how certain words mean varying things depending on when it was heard (time), gender (matter) and who happens to be interpreting (chance). The three basic units of evolution. The only thing I have to hold on to right now is that the Word of God in never changing Truth. The Truth I see is one of constant turning away and reconciliation. Ultimately in the sacrifice of the Christ. What I’ve found in that Truth for the 8 months I have been separated from my wife is God HATES divorce. Again, I ask your forgiveness if I’m overreacting to what was said pertaining to divorce but I need to be sure I understand.. If the husband and wife both love the Lord but are in dispute over circumstances influencing their marriage which is currently irreconcilable, the Lord would be understand if they divorced. Seems contrary to what Jesus said … “so they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
    If I misunderstood then what should be the Godly course of action.

  59. Afua says:

    postonic says: ” If the husband and wife both love the Lord but are in dispute over circumstances influencing their marriage which is currently irreconcilable, the Lord would be understand if they divorced. ”

    With God all things are possible; their is nothing that is “irreconcilable”.

  60. Wordgazer says:

    Afua, excuse me– I have to disagree with what your experience has taught you. I am a rational, reasonable, educated woman. I know how to use logic. I am not controlled by my emotions, I rule my emotions as a good Christian should. I strongly suspect that if I were to tell you that I find your words insulting, you would read into that that I’m being an irrational, emotional woman. But saying that women are ruled by their emotions provides a good excuse to not take women seriously. I don’t know whether you are a woman or a man, but surely you will agree that women and men were both made in the image of God. Is God controlled by His emotions? I think not. . .

    Daisymarygoldr said:

    Christian husbands are called to be like Christ. Christ loved the Church and gave His life for the church. Therefore, Christ is the head of the body, the Church. This means-

    – Christ is “before” all things and we submit to His
    – Christ has all “authority” under heaven and on earth.
    – Christ “rules” the heart of a Christian.
    – Christ is the “leader” and we are His followers.

    The problem is that if you follow the Christ-Church/Husband-Wife analogy out to its full length, you have the husband as the wife’s savior, redeemer, sanctifier, and god. I am certain you would agree that we shouldn’t take it this far– we have to limit the analogy at some point. If the husband being “head” means he has Christ’s “authority” over the wife, this can end up meaning that the husband takes the place of Christ as lord in his wife’s life. This results in husband-idolatry, and is a root cause of much of hte abusiveness we see in unbalanced Christian marriages where the wife no longer retains her one-to-one relationship with Christ in the priesthood of all believers, but is seen to need her husband to be a “priest” for her.

    Husband-idolotry is incredibly bad for both husbands and wives– it provides no restraint on humanity’s natural greed, selfishness and lust for power.

    The fact is that women are just as much part of the Church as men are. Christ, not the husband, is lord, savior, and god of the WHOLE church.

  61. abe says:

    The Christian community reminds me of the musicians who played while the Titanic was sinking. They just keep on playing the song of male authority and female obedience while the ship of marriage continues to sink.

    There are many women who were very obedient in their marriages, and are now divorced. The Christian community needs to re-think what they are teaching about marriage. Perhaps instead of teaching the authority/obedience model, they should recommend marital counseling.

  62. abe says:


    Would going to a marriage counselor help you? The Lord has used them to help a lot of people. Maybe that’s not the right answer for you, but I wanted to suggest it just in case.

    If your wife won’t go with you to counseling, you can always go alone. God has used counseling to help many Christians.

  63. poohpity says:

    What makes us any different than the world?

  64. abe says:

    postonc ,

    May God bless you and strengthen you in this hour of need. I will be praying for you.

    I’ve suggested counseling for postonc, does anyone else have any guidance they can give him?

  65. Afua says:

    As you have mentioned abe, counselling is a good suggestion; both as a couple and individually. But be careful, not just any counsellor will do. As would be much prayer and waiting on God.
    Does the 8 month separation mean you are not living together? I believe it may be more difficult when you are not together to reconcile the differences.

  66. abe says:

    Yes, I agree – you have to be careful about the counselor. Sometimes you can make progress with one counselor but not another. It’s not that there is anything wrong with some counselors, but they may not have the specific help that you need for your situation.

    I do hope things work out for you. I know what you are going through is heart wrenching and extremely painful.

  67. postonc says:

    thank you for your prayers.. I can use all I can get… we are phycically separated and she is not interested in counceling… believes Jesus is our counceler. I have resigned myself to prayer and petition to restore our marriage which I believe I can never give up on… no matter how long that is. My wife is asking for a divorce but I can not agree … it is against what God has commanded… if the Lord came later today, what could I possible say … sorry Lord, I know You hate divorce but I didn’t like how things were going and it didn’t seem like You were willing to fix it for the last 8 months so I thought getting a divorce would be OK in Your sight. I can’t do that….

  68. Afua says:

    Without knowing the circumstances, it is likely that the physical separation and not wanting the counciling has likely fueled the fire of her wanting the divorce. When the one who has insisted on leaving does then there lies the difficulty. Unless there was an need for “safety”, I don’t think Jesus would council to leave.
    I agree for you not to give up. Start thinking in the most positive light towards her and the situtation. Envision what you would like to see and not what you currently see. This you can do …

  69. Wordgazer says:

    Forgive me– I did not intend to leave out the capitals at the end of my post– I meant to say Christ is Lord, Savior and God of the whole church.

  70. abe says:


    Go to a counselor even if she won’t. It will be good for you.

  71. daisymarygoldr says:

    Abe, your prayers are appreciated! Didn’t have any marital problems so far…thanks though for the helpful tips. It was great talking to you and I’m greatly impressed by your immense knowledge. God bless you too!

    Wordgazer, yes, you are right women are just as much part of the Church as men are. Honestly my carnal being doesn’t even want to consider the husband as the head…let alone taking it that far….to husband idolatry. But my spiritual being submits to Christ by submitting to my husband.

  72. Charis says:


    I have 2 practical suggestions:

    Go to a website called godsavemymarriage.com and get in touch with Joel Davisson. He is a tough but excellent coach for Christian men on how to “win your wife’s heart back”.

    If your wife is willing, attend Retrouvaille.
    Look online at retrouvaille.org
    After the weekend, be sure to attend the weekly post sessions. They are worth their weight in Gold.

  73. poohpity says:

    Colossians 3:18-19

    Wives, give up contention with your husband, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. This is after Paul discribes the role of those who follow the Lord in Col 3:12-14; 12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

  74. abe says:


    The translation of Colossians 3:18-19 you have is mistranslated. It’s not your fault.

    Here is a more accurate translation:

    18Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
    19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

    The reason your translation is not correct is because 1) it’s not what actual Greek says 2) women were not contentious with their husbands back then. Those were very hard times for women, and wives didn’t dare step out of line for fear of their husbands. Back then husbands had all the legal power, and could be really brutal to their wives with no legal repercussions.

  75. abe says:


    I should have stated that it’s only verse 18 that is mistranslated in your version. Verse 19 is okay.

  76. abe says:


    I’m glad to know that you don’t have any marital problems. I was a little scared when you asked for prayer. I worried that you might be having problems.

  77. plumbape says:

    What I find frightening in reading about the original text the Bible was written in and how there are apparently translations of the Holy Word of God Almighty that are wromg, is maybe I have been misled in my salvation….?!

  78. poohpity says:

    Gosh you caught me abe. I guess I better not use definitions of synonyms any more. Even though it was a different time people are still the same.

  79. Wordgazer says:

    Plumbape, the problems with translation are generally about cultural-related things. Translators misunderstand the author’s intent because they are not the original audience for which the words were written– thus, they can bring the understandings of their own culture and times to the text.

    Matters regarding salvation, however, are not culturally related. They are eternal. Salvation and eternal life, and how to attain them, are not going to change regardless of what time or culture we are in. So don’t worry about cultural misunderstandings affecting the translation of those passages that are timeless, unchanging, and universal.

  80. plumbape says:

    Thank You God Bless You All

    Love one another as I have also loved you

  81. abe says:


    I think the Bible is pretty well translated except for some of the statements Paul makes about women. These verses have been translated in a biased manner to make it appear as if Paul is putting more restrictions on women, or is being harsher on women, than in fact he really is. I don’t read Greek. I found out about this by really the comments of several Bible scholars.

    Most Bibles in English appear to have some mistranslation on women, as far as I know. I will post a couple examples tonight if I can.

  82. abe says:


    You have not been misled in your salvation, only in what you have been taught about women. It’s only Paul’s verses on women that have been (intentionally in my mind) mistranslated. I believe they were mistranslated so as to give men more power and authority over women than Paul originally intended.

  83. poohpity says:

    Hey Michael,

    I am the one who did not copy the verse right. I was giving thought to a definition of yield. The main thought that was in my post was Col 3:12-14. If we paid attention to just that we might have more love in our homes and may be a little different than the world.

  84. abe says:

    There are several verses of Paul that has been mistranslated to sound more severe than they really are. Here are some examples:

    1 Cor 11:10

    For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

    The actual translation is this:

    It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own [a] head, because of the angels.

    Notice in the 1st version, the mistranslated one, it says a woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. In the 2nd version, the correct one, it says a woman has authority over her own head.

    Here’s another mistranslated verse:

    1st Timothy 2:12

    I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

    It is extremely difficult to translate this verse as there are several controversies over several words within the verse. However, it is known that the words “to have authority over” is not the correct translation. As I have studied many the views of many people who read Greek about this verse – I can tell that this is a verse that is very difficult to translate. It’s questionable what the verse is actually saying.

    In Ephesians 5:23 the word kephale, translated “head” is not mistranslated. The problem is that in the original Greek the word “head” did not have the meaning of leader or authority, such as it does in English. So when English speaking people see the word “submit” placed close to the word “head”, they see it as submission to a leader or authority figure.

    As far as I know the only verses in the Bible that have been deliberately mistranslated are on women. This was probably done to keep women under the authority of men.

    There are verses in the Bible that may have been unintentionally mistranslated, these are apart from the deliberately mistranslations on women.

  85. abe says:


    There are so many deliberate mistranslations of Paul’s words on women that I just assumed it another deliberate mistranslation.

    I don’t trust much of the Christian community on the issue of women anymore. There’s just been too much mishandling and mistranslations.

  86. Mart De Haan says:

    abe,the coloring of words chosen by the translators bothers me too. But I doubt their misrepresentation of the text is intentional. Translators, like the rest of us come to the text with assumptions. Then they have to choose from a range of meanings to decide which “color” of a word fits the context.

    What I’m finding is that we can unintentionally bring a foundational, wrong assumption to what the Bible says about the roles of men and women if we assume that the rule of husbands over wives is God’s way of bringing order to the relationship of marriage.

    So many of us haven’t seen that there is reason to ask: Do we pull weeds out of our yard and garden? Do we do what we can to lessen a woman’s pain in childbirth? Do we try to delay an untimely death for ourselves or those we love? If the answer is yes, then are we also doing what we can to discourage or even prevent husbands from ruling over their wives (i.e. in the sense of taking authority over, controlling, or in any way lording it over them)?

    If, however, we assume that the consequence and curse of sin is God’s solution for social order, then we will naturally conclude that to affirm husbands ruling over their wives, is to surrender ourselves to the authority of God.

    That’s why I think it’s hard for many not to unintentionally misrepresent what the Bible says about men and women if they start from the wrong place.

  87. scifiwritir says:

    Translations can be a bit iffy, definitely. And the fact that we have mostly male preachers also complicate matters. The verse translated, “I suffer not a woman to teach a man” can also be translated as “I suffer not a wife to teach a husband” because in many languages wife and woman are often the same word. In addition, when Paul tells women to submit he also tells men to sacrifice themselves for their wives — which would seem to be the more powerful, painful choice. But there are more books written telling women how to and why to submit than there are books telling men on how to sacrifice themselves. The upshot of this is that we have a lot of wounded women submitting themselves to men who are like Nabal with no ability or knowledge of how to sacrifice. -C

  88. HEY REV says:

    I wonder how long many of us could sit together discussing this before our feelings would start to change. It reminds me of a comment made about 5 Pastors who ended up with 8 different opinions on just one verse. I find that most of us bring into a conversation what we “very first” believed, and have difficulty even listening to the others. Oh I’m guility because I’ve done it myself. But when I let the Holy Spirit remind me as Jesus promised in Luke 12:12 that He would bring back what He said through the others. In this subject about Husbands and Wives the word
    “submission” carries over very HARD. This year we will be married 50 years, and at my marriage the word submit to me meant
    “demand.” It took many years and the Work of God in me to realize how wrong I was. Many of you are saying pretty close what I believe the Scriptures teach on this. The hard part is putting it into action. How many times have many of you heard (and even thought the same within yourself) “I’m tired of always giving in” what about *****
    its their turn. Someone told me the other day “I don’t have anymore cheeks left to turn over.” I know as well as many of you that “each case has it own merit” We all play a little of the “monday night quarter back syndrome” telling the quarter back how to play the game “after” the game.
    I don’t want to take any more of your time
    reading, but think a little about this. When the verse says “SUBMIT” (carry, help, delight, work, listen, talk, pray, lift, think,encourage, embace, laugh, cry, share, heart,mind, etc (add more of your own) TO ONE ANOTHER OUT OF REVERENCE FOR CHRIST.
    Eph 5:21
    When I started attempting to do that (it very slowly turned from attempt to doing it)I believe I put Christ first to please not myself or even my wife.
    In my life it worked, but many times I wanted to throw in the towel. We can say things but hard to put into practice. remember the saying “practice makes perfect, so be careful what we practice.
    God bless all of you who so much want to please our Lord Jesus.

  89. su says:


    50 years! I’m going to bed soon but want to say congratulations! And thank you. God is working on me. I don’t feel I know how to love. My father almost killed himself when I was young and I was the one who knowingly and unknowingly brought him out of his depression. How the main interaction ended toward me devastated me. I didn’t realize this until later. I always tried to hold onto God but it was not easy. Now, I am afraid of love, as odd as it may sound. Although my dad lived, we didn’t have the greatest relationship. Now, I stink at them.

    I have been told act what you know is right (whether you believe or not yet) and it comes to be apart of you (not in those exact words). I’ve tried this for so long, I gave up. My Christ-reverence seemed to weaken. I began to feel like I had to depend only on myself even for my faith and success with God. Thankfully, God is softening my heart again. I pray He will not give up on me (and yet know – head knowledge, that He is transforming to heart understanding – that He will not).

    Thank you for your encouragement to Keep On!

  90. Godmakesmeable says:

    I accidently posted this in the Keeping Secrets blog. Oops, I wish I could delete it there.

    Charis, I appreciate your voice. I believe truly loving and serving my husband is warring against the things that war against his soul. Life becomes a battle for the woman married to these things. Suffering the consequences in every way: discouragement, lonliness, and the worst: how can you trust him with your children as he disciplines them as wrongly and foolheaded as he tries to discipline you. What is submission? My submission to Christ compels me to correct my husband. My DESIRE is for him to seek God with his whole heart. To seek the way of Christ and APPLY it to his own life. Hearers and doers have no gender. The issue of submitting as it is generally represented is like telling a christian woman to submit to the world and God. On the surface the woman takes the hit and under the surface she is the warrior for Christ. I’m interested to hear more from everyone.

  91. foreverblessed says:

    Hello Godmakesmeable, since you ask for input, I will give it here: {The issue of submitting as it is generally represented is like telling a christian woman to submit to the world and God. On the surface the woman takes the hit and under the surface she is the warrior for Christ.}
    I do not exactly understnad what you mean.
    But under the surface she is the warrior of Christ:
    The scripture in 1 Peter 3:1-6 ..they may be won over without talk by the behaviour of their wives..
    This verse was a guideline to me a long time. Someone was coaching me, because I was in trouble, she said, tell him things not more then once in 3 months. It was about him watching so much tv and things like that. Once in 3 months was so little. It took me years in finding out that I had to draw closer to Christ. And find rest in Him and Him alone. v4 A beautifull inner self, of a gentle and quiet spirit. The spirit is quiet because it rests in Christ. I know, after 10 years I was told this, I still have to grow in being peacefull, and full of grace, and full of Gods love. But on step at a time, step by step. And in the mean time I am not so worried anymore about my husband. He is in Gods hands.
    And so am I! Isnt that great!
    So am I a warrior of Christ? Yes I am, by quietly growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

  92. Godmakesmeable says:

    Your post does make me feel like I probobly push back too much. (figuratively) I must say that I feel it is more a reflex from being pushed in a direction I don’t want to get comfortable with! I see the ill effects of giving in to love that wants to be needed all the time in their own way in my husbands parents. Have you ever read C.S. Lewis Four Loves? His dad is the need guy and very intrusive with taking liberties and the sort. It is complicated. The circumstances probobly sound silly, but it feels like a war within me.

  93. foreverblessed says:

    Yes you are right, I am only telling my experience, and my husband was not pushing me anywere, but I wanted contact with him. So my way out was different then what yours is going to be. You say your folks push you, you have to live to their expectations. It sounds like your husband did not “leave his father and mother” and cleave to you. But you already gave your answer, your daily hope is on God your Father, I am sure He will lead you out. I have heard more stories of christians who have been in “prison” for years, but were finally freed. The freedom that follows is much greater then when it would have been sooner. And often these people will have a great christian work (I cant find the word I need).
    You are so much looking to God, hang in there. Do not give up. The ones pushing you are just wrong, you are not. You have to stand on the Rock, that is Jesus. Keep staying there!
    Will pray for you. love Petra

  94. Godmakesmeable says:

    I appreciate just talking to someone who doesn’t have any ties to the situation. I want to understand submission. I want to be a friend to my husband, a wife, a grown up, a parent. I’m sad for my husband because his parents never taught him to dream or reach out or conform to God, but to them. He is missing out on so much. He doesn’t know any better. I tell him the best thing he could do for me would be to spend time alone with God. He says, “I tried that and it doesn’t work.” Ugh. There was a lot more to THAT conversation, but my talking is yielding nothing. The fact that I am giving up these same things doesn’t seem to yield anything yet. Only God can solve this. My husband is wonderful in so many ways… but in everything he does he pushes our relationship aside for the sake of what he is DOING. Without love, whatever you “do” together becomes drudgery. So on the outside he has it all together and is doing everything right. He thinks if I were to really love him it would be to do likewise. The truth is no matter how perfect I try to perform as he does (growing up with trifles of life being very second to relationship because of hard times)He is unsatisfiable. Yet he keeps trying that same route. It is a love/hate for me. I understand why he does things, but understanding a thing doesn’t make it any better. Perhaps God is curing me of that. What will make it better? I know God is in control and even if he doesn’t soften these peoples hearts, he has a plan for me. I so want my husband to just have the scales fall from his eyes. I don’t know how to live between submission and setting my face against. Please do pray for me. I want to understand. Perhaps it is realizing my very utter reliance not on understanding but clinging to God and believing and entrust my life to His will. Praise God! Thank you for your prayers Petra.

  95. Barbara Roberts says:

    Mart, I’m glad that you appreciate Charis “pushing back” on the idea that the woman’s desire in Gen 3:16 means the desire to control her husband. As a victim/survivor of domestic abuse and an advocate for other survivors, I frequently hear from women who are in abusive marriages and when they disclose the abuse to someone in the church they get told “Submit more to your husband.”
    This advice generally comes from the belief that a husband’s abuse is in response to his wife’s in-submissiveness, and it will be solved by her becoming more submissive. Abusers gladly agree with this take on Genesis 3:16 as it gives them license to abuse. It has been promoted by many eminent leaders in conservative churches. And it’s done untold harm. To submit more to an abuser only enables the abuser to sin more. And places the victim and the children in greater danger.
    There are syntactic and semantic similarities between Gen. 3:16 and Gen 4:7, it is true, but there are also major dissimilarities between the two texts.
    Firstly, as someone on this blog (I think it was Charis) has pointed out, we cannot automatically equate Sin ( the one who desires in 4:7) with Eve (the one who desires in 3:16). Certainly, Eve was fallen, like all mankind, but it’s hardly fair to say she had become utterly and totally evil, like Sin. To imply this is slanderous.

    Secondly, in 3:16 God describes and prophesises (but does not prescribe) how male -emale relations will be out of joint. The words “Your husband shall rule over you” were spoken not to Adam, but to Eve. In contrast, “You shall (or must) rule over it [over Sin]” was spoken prescriptively to Cain. God was telling Cain to master his sinful tendencies, he was not telling Adam to rule over his wife. Rather, in 3:16 God was announcing to Eve the sad state of affairs in which she would now find herself. I hear it as God speaking with great sadness and grief for the suffering that Eve and womankind would now endure.

    Third, in 3:17 God tells Adam that the ground was being cursed “because you heeded the voice of your wife and have eaten from the [forbidden] tree.” Adam’s sin was double-barreled: (1) he passively complied with a sinful suggestion made by his wife, thereby abrogating his protective leadership responsibility, and (2) he disobeyed God’s explicit command. These words of God to Adam stand in contrast to his words to Eve. Nowhere in his statement to Eve did God say or imply “You were wrong to take the initiative over your husband.” Or “You were wrong to try to control your husband.” And Paul echoes this when he notes that Eve’s sin was that she was deceived. Paul never says her sin was because she tried to control Adam.

    The word ‘desire’ must be interpreted in the context in which it occurs. In Genesis 3 we need to interpret it in Genesis 3. In Genesis 4 we interpret it within Genesis 4. In Song of Solomon (7:10)we interpret it within Song of Solomon. It is simplistic and hermeneutically ham-fisted to interpret Gen.3:16 in the context of Gen. 4:7.

    I submit a contextual interpretation of ‘desire’ in Genesis 3:
    Eve had just sinned. She and Adam were hiding in the garden, fearful of God and ashamed. When God questions Adam she hears Adam throw much of the blame on her, and some of the blame on God, before he confesses somewhat lamely “I ate.” So on top of her fear and shame, Eve has now been cut by Adam’s blame-shifting. When God questions her, she does little better in the blame-shifting stakes, blaming the serpent before she confesses “I ate.” How would she have been feeling and thinking? I suggest she would have been thinking “Oh if only I hadn’t been impulsive! If only I’d remembered what Adam told me about not eating that fruit. If only I’d checked with Adam before letting myself be beguiled by the serpent. If only… I wish I’d stayed under Adam’s covering more closely. I wish I’d clung to him more dependently. I wish he would forgive me and show he still loves me and cares for me and will protect me, rather than cast me out in the cold!”
    So what would be Eve’s desire? It would be the desire for love, protection and covering from her husband.

    Some may think “But how does that kind of desire – which is wholly a good desire – fit in the context of God’s declaration of severe consequences for their disobedience? It fits because of the severity of the second statement: “Your husband shall rule over you.” A woman will desire her husband’s attentive love and protection, and yet he will give her the opposite of what she desires: he will be inclined to rule over her insensitively and harshly. How much more will she suffer from this rule, when her inner being is craving the exactly opposite kind of relationship with him?

    One final thing on the Desire=Control view. To my knowledge this has only existed since 1975 when Susan Foh put it forward. She said in her paper that her idea was in response to feminism. So where does that leave us? An interpretation made as a reaction to a worldly social movement? Is that a good basis for exegesis? Or is it using a text as a pretext? I leave your readers to ponder this.(But note: I give the feminist movement credit for drawing attention to the plight of victims of domestic abuse when the church had remained silent on their plight.)

    PS. The pre-Foh interpretations of ‘desire’ in Gen. 3 tended to discuss such things as sexual desire, or a women ‘having no desires of her own’ (that was Calvin’s take on it), or other things like ‘clingy psychological dependence’ or ‘desire bordering on disease’.

  96. Mart De Haan says:

    Barbara Roberts, I agree with you when you say, “I give the feminist movement credit for drawing attention to the plight of victims of domestic abuse when the church had remained silent on their plight.”

    I also appreciate your providing some alternatives for interpreting the meaning of desire in the “curse statement” of Gen 3:16. I agree the text allows for an oppressive response to a good desire. But I don’t think it works to rule out the possibility that this text is predicting a two-sided consequence coming out of the fall.

    Seeing that the good desires of both men and women have been damaged and misdirected by the fall, and taking a possible cue from 4:17 does not require either a justification of male abuse, nor a characterizing woman as evil.

  97. Barbara Roberts says:

    Mart, I appreciate your comments. They make me think.

    Some of my difficulty is that I see certain consequences from the Fall as implicit, and some as clearly stated in Genesis 3. Saying “women sometimes want to control their husbands” does not slander women, since it’s a true statement. And I would never maintain that women’s desires (in respect of their husbands or of anyone else) are always good desires.

    All human beings, both male and female, since the Fall, are biased towards selfishness and can be inclined to seek to control others. Women certainly sometimes want to control to control their husbands just as husbands sometimes want to control their wives. But I’m reluctant to see this woman’s tendency to control her husband written explicitly in Genesis 3:16.

    I still am reluctant to read the meaning back from Genesis 4:7 into 3:16. I know that Song of Solomon is a lot more removed from Gen 3:16 than Gen 4:7 is. But this is not necessarily a strong case for taking our clue from Genesis 4:7. Why do we need to take our clue from any other occurence of ‘desire’ when the other two occurences are so wildly opposite to each other in colour? Why not just say ‘desire’ means ‘desire’ and we should read each occurence within its own context. I have an email from Professor Alan Groves of Westminster Seminary in which he says “One solution seems quite straightforward to me, an answer that has been obscured by all the generations of discussion and lexical speculation: teshuqah simply means general ‘desire.’ Nothing more, nothing less! The context in Genesis with the use of contrastive syntax between the two clauses, tells us that the particular desire of the woman will be (contrastively) answered by her husband’s mastery over her.”

    (I’d like to send you the whole email as this quote may not adequately represent all of Dr Groves’ views. If you want it email me.)

    As I said in point three of my earlier comment, God does not rebuke Eve about her having controlled her husband, whereas he does rebuke Adam saying “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree…” This morning I re-read the passage and noticed that God also uses the word ‘because’ in relation to the Serpent, saying “Because you have done this, you are cursed… ” God makes no “Because you have …. ” statement to Eve. He does not expressly nail her sin or attribute her punishment to any particular aspect of her conduct. The only Biblical statement we have about Eve’s express sin is Paul’s statement that “Eve was deceived”. I think this should somewhat restrain us from reading back the Gen. 4:7 meaning of ‘desire to control’ into the Genesis 3 passage.

    As to the idea that there must have been a two-sided consequence coming out of the Fall, I agree with you as a general principle: Male and female relations were put out of joint, and neither sex would be exemplary in their attitudes or conduct towards each other. This almost goes without saying. If, as I have argued, the context suggests that the woman’s desire will be for a husband who will love, protect and care for her, this CAN have a negative aspect: she can desire this so much that she clings to a man who treats her abominably.

    Look at the victims of abuse who don’t leave their abuser, or who keep going back because they believe his promises of love and reformation, who want the relationship to work so badly that they overlook persistent mistreatment of themselves. Some women testify that they were virtually addicted to their abuser. The Stockholm syndrome can occur in domestic abuse.

    And look at how the world mocks and denigrates abuse victims by asking that dreadful question “Why doesn’t she leave?” without having any understanding of the myriads of reasons why women stay, not least of which is that it is often safer to stay than to leave since the risk of being murdered by your abuser is highest at the time of separation.

  98. Mart De Haan says:

    Thanks, Barbara,I agree with you that the word may simply mean “desire” and don’t think it is certain that the word in 3:16 necessarily carries the 4:7 parallel.

    One of the things I’ve run into trying to press the issue of marital abuse is that some men react to articles that describe males as primary abusers and that overlook the real nature of verbal and emotional abuse that can come from either side.

  99. Barbara Roberts says:

    Yes Mart, that problem is widespread.
    It’s not easy to handle, either.
    And it can bring vicarious traumatization to the advocate such as yourself.

    Men can be victims of abuse too. That is certainly true. They can be victims of physical abuse (I know one man who had his sternum and two ribs broken by his wife; he was such a gentleman he would never hit a woman) and they can also be victims of emotional and verbal abuse and potentially of financial and social abuse too. And sexual abuse in the form of withholding or granting sexual favours conditional upon other unreasonable demands being me; and maybe even spiritual abuse, though I find it pretty hard to image the ways a woman could use Scripture against her husband.

    There are several problems tangled together here.

    1)We have no gender-neutral personal pronoun so we have to say “she” or “he” unless we decide to use the cumbersome “he/she” on every occasion.

    2) The statistics from the criminal justice (police and courts) systems as well as from hospital emergency rooms indicate that a large majority (but not all) victims of domestic abuse are females being abused by a male intimate partner.

    3) There are no domestic-abuse-specific refuges or shelters for male victims, so male victims are somewhat more invisible within the welfare system.

    4) Many men (and people in general) find it hard to comprehend how widespread and how evil domestic abuse IS.

    5)Domestic abuse hides in plain sight, and because victims have usually hidden it for a long time before they finally disclose, bystanders find it hard to believe those disclosures. And the abuser almost never “seems like the type”.

    6) People are afraid of facing it: they don’t want to become involved; they are complacent; they may fear reprisals from perpetrators.

    7) Many adults were victims of child abuse of one kind or another, and/or grew up in homes where there was abuse by one parent against another. And quite a few adults have been abused (or are still being abused) by an intimate adult partner. Many of these people have handled their trauma by burying it or denying its effects. These people often don’t like looking at the issue of abuse because it triggers painful feelings and memories.

    8)I call points 4 to 7 the “YUCK” factor. Sitting with the truth about domestic violence is very uncomfortable. People want to close their ears. They may clutch at straws to evade the really awful truths and the uncomfortable emotions.

    Now I don’t mean to imply that anyone who says “What about male victims?” is actually an abuser. But we’ve all heard the stories about men whose wives left them “no good reason” and “took the kids off them” etc. Some of these stories are no doubt genuine. But quite a number of them come from abusers who are accomplished liars and who will distort truth and tell half truths to portray themselves as victims, very successfully. These dishonest stories have conditioned the public’s understanding of domestic abuse and helped perpetuate myths that are very hard to break down.

    We need to understand all these background factors when we are confronted with the “But what about women who abuse men?” question. The question may have lots of other things going on underneath it.

    I am not full of answers about how we address the “What about male victims?” question. But I suspect one good way to respond is to provide statistics. Part of the problem here is that many of the surveys so far have asked only about physical violence and only a relative few have included emotional and other types of abuse. As the surveys get better at including all the aspects of domestic abuse, we will have better statistics to respond to that question.

    Steve Tracy (Mending the Soul) has gathered some good statistics from a range of very reliable studies, and puts them into a Christian perspective.

    The Rev Al Miles would no doubt have a lot to say on this subject too.

    I believe that it helps if we say upfront “Men can be victims and women can be perpetrators, though in the majority of cases women are the victims.” This approach tries to preempt the resistance. And we need to keep re-stating this from time to time, too.
    Abuse is a sin problem, not just a gender problem, though it can have gender components.

  100. L. Rosell says:

    My husband and I separated and as time went by and I prayed and prayed and fasted and interceded for my marriage. The Lord took me to his written Word more specifically…women submit to your husband’s as unto the Lord in EVERYTHING”. I would say….Lord…my he is not like me I pray…I read the Bible…I tithe I worship…I serve and fast. He is unbeliever…so therefore I should have good standing with you I am right before you because of everything I do for you and your people but he doesn’t do any of that therefore he is a sinner. It took that for the Lord to show me that I too was a sinner nonetheless. Opps!

    Then when night the lord woke me up at about 3 o’clock a.m. and said to me when you were with your husband he would repeatedly ask you to wash all dishes before bedtime…I would justify in my mind…Lord but I cleaned the entire house…I sat down and helped the kids with their homework…I gave a bath to the kids…I prepared dinner and I prepared lunches for the following day…I put the kids to sleep every night…Lord it’s way too much I am tired i’ll just take care of that tomorrow.

    Again next evening in the wee hours the Lord woke me up about the same thing….the Lord reminded me to go wash the dishes….I would say to the Lord he is not here he is not living here anymore he wouldn’t know if I got up to wash the dishes or not. Then the Lord said he is not here but I am.

    So I got up from bed ..and washed and dryed everything and put it all away at about 4:00 a.m., As I would do more I knew that my husband had asked me to do prior to his departure from our marriage…the more he would come around to visit.

    Since he was living with someone else at the time I didn’t want him taking the kids with him for visitation as I was told by church elders…that the Lord had given me the kids and since my husband’s head was not right at the time…The Lord was looking at me to be the responsible one and it was my responsibility to take care of the kids.

    After a while the Lord allowed me to be tested again this time I submitted and said Yes..and yes…I stayed crying and prayed and prayed until I fell asleep…well when he finally came back home after 5 or 6 hours with kids…He decided to stay and things started changing for us as a couple.

    To summarize the marriage was restored because of my submission and as I always say to first God and my husband second…(but of course I don’t say that to my husband) it’s always lifted up in prayer to the Lord…even when I am to do things which I know not to be godly I always pray Lord I am doing this for you as I submit to your Word …so if you don’t want me to do this particular thing change his heart and his mind and allow him to do a Godly thing instead…but no matter what I have a cheery face and not one of discord. I have seen and I have lived through positive changes the Lord has done in my husband and in turn in me.

  101. poohpity says:

    I believe it is not how we preform that causes the Lord to love us. He loved us while we were yet sinners. It is not doings things to earn love it is just loving God and in turn we will love others. It is not a performance based Love. If you base God’s love on how many hoops you can jump through then it is not grace based but earned. Like wise with your husband or any other human being you do not need to earn love it is given freely. How many good works do you have to complete before you will be loved? You are very loved by God and do not need to work to earn it.

  102. foreverblessed says:

    She is not doing these things for God to love her. But God was disciplining her.
    Since there has been repeatedly a discussion on submission on this blog, I have gained more insight into it.
    James 3:
    17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

    Being submissive is a Christian fruit. All of us have to devellop it, men and women. No one is left out.
    We are all disiplined. And this woman (L.) was taught this lesson by God personally. The husband will be taught as well, but God first took the woman.

    But no man can demand submission, he must be submissive himself as well.

  103. poohpity says:

    Is submission a Christian fruit? Or is Gal 5:22-24; 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Submission is trusting in the leading of another. If at any time we are made to do acts wanting to be accepted and loved that is not submission it is being a doormat. If we trust someone to lead us they must first show that they can be trusted with that responsibility, to endure mental or emotional cruelty is not something I would want to submit to. Christ died on the Cross for discipline or to show us the extent of His love?

  104. poohpity says:

    If that husband was caring for his wife as Christ cared for the Church then he would have done the dishes if that is what he wanted done not to deprive his wife of the sleep she needed to do one of the hardest jobs in the world of being a wife and mother. Love is seeking the highest GOOD of the one loved not treating people like dirt.

  105. foreverblessed says:

    Dear POOH, you are not on your own, you are here discussing this marital submission thing.
    And that really triggers you. I do love you very much, do not get too much upset about what I write.
    The woman L. did not, as you wrote: “If at any time we are made to do acts wanting to be accepted and loved that is not submission it is being a doormat. ” But she did it because God told her to do so. And she obeyed, and she was very much blessed.
    The man afcourse is totally wrong, but as she wrote, he is not a believer. God will deal with him later. And teach him what it is to be a loving husband. You are totally right that a man takes care of his wife as Christ did take care of the church.
    But he did not call the man first, instead, He called the woman first.
    Did Jeus learn submission, yes He did, there are several scriptures about it. (Hebrews 5:8, obedience and submission are related.)

    Christ came to die for us, out of love for us. But it was done in obedience. He was submissive to what God wanted. Jesus begged for the cup to be taken away from him. But is wasn’t. And He in so doing was submissive. He did not argue further, “Is there no other way in which all the sins can be forgiven?”

    If in a marriage only one partner is a Christian, that person will encounter that Gods ways are up side down, and yet be blessed for following God.

    But never submit out of fear of not being loved.
    You first must absolutely know that God in Christ loves you. That you are accepted. And deeply loved.

    You are not married, you have a choice in testing the husband to be wheather he is a loving leader, and submitted to Christ.
    But this woman is married to an unbelieving husband, and so she cannot do that testing anymore. Instead she walks with God, He is her number one, and she follows His lead.

    So this is not the ideal situation, she is telling her story, married to an unbeliever. And that will not at all be your ideal marriage situation.
    Never thought that God would wake us up to do the dishes at night. But I think that God does these things to disipilne us. And that is totally different from doing it out of fear for the husband, because he demanded it.
    So POOH, relax, keep trusting God, He is not telling you do to the dishes at night, He probably tells you to relax. Have a lot of rest, after this long hard period you have had with your mother.
    With much love. By ties of love Jesus gets us closer to Himself

  106. poohpity says:


    I hope I never say anything that will cause harm to another from what I say and rather than her responding to my post you did. It seems that you are assuming that because I am not married now that I have never been and in fact my first husband knocked my eye through my eye socket and I also counsel women who have lived through abuse. Yes it does cause me alarm to read something I feel is an abusive situation because women who do not understand how valuable they are will allow others to abuse them and that is not submission. Thank you for your input but because I have just suffered a loss does not mean my mind has stopped working. You are correct that we never know how God will work in a persons life but if it is not in line with His principles of loving God with all your heart, soul and mind and loving others as you LOVE YOURSELF than I feel concerned for the person. I apologize if anything I have said is in error but I can not assume what her situations is I can only go on what was said and I replied from my heart.

  107. foreverblessed says:

    Dear Pooh, OK, I see what you mean, I didn’t know about your past in an abusive marriage. Sorry for you, hope that your eye has healed.

    So there should be a big sign at the beginning of a post on marital submission:
    This is not for those in Abusive Marriage situations!

  108. poohpity says:

    Many women do not feel they are in abusive situations they feel like this is what is referred to as submission in the bible. Emotional abuse is just as bad if not worse than the physical kind.

  109. foreverblessed says:

    So then you mean to say, talking about the woman submitting is not a good topic to talk about at all.
    I personally think that the topic should start with the man being admonished to love his wife as Christ did the church. Ephesians 5:25-30. What the man is being told to do means that he has to be submittive even to the opoint of death for the faults of his wife. (As I am writing this I feel that this is too much stretched out.)
    But the point is, how come that in all these church years this point of the man is under valued, and the point of submitting of the wife is overvalued.
    Because if we realy read what the man is admaonished to do, it is staggering. Too much for the mind to begin to even start doing it on your own. He must be absolutely attached to Christ with all of his being to be able to do this.
    But why is this point so understressed?

  110. poohpity says:

    A man submitting to Christ is the point too. I feel that our churches are mostly run by the males and so it is that point that really needs to be addressed and if I know our Lord it will be one way or another. I really do not look forward to how God will take care of it but it will be taken care of. We can trust our care to the one that we (both genders) were created in the image of. Love you and enjoyed the conversation. Deb

  111. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, thanks too, so did I, and I am still thinking about these things, because here on earth things might seem unfair.
    But in heaven things are totally fair. And maybe it would be better if these things were stressed:
    Matthew 20:25-28
    25Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    So, we women should go on doing these things, not out of fear for the husband, but out of reverence and love for Christ, and then for the husband, and for mankind

    Because in heaven they, who were willing to help others, will not be last, as will many men, who on earth demanded their way around. They will have to be last, and learn a little about being humble, being of help to others. Because in heaven are only those who are absolutely and joyfully there to help others.

    Love you too.

  112. Waneta Dawn says:

    I really appreciate this discussion. Too often Christians think they already have all the answers and don’t stop to examine an issue again.

    Jocelyn Andersen’s study, called “1 Corinthians 11:3 HEADSHIP OR LORDSHIP?” sheds light on the subject.
    Here are some quotes from this study:

    “As Christians, Christ is both our Head and our Lord, but his Headship is not to be confused with his Lordship…

    It is common to hear the word “headship” used in regards to the relationship between men and women and most especially between husbands and wives, but to use the term headship synonymously with lordship in regards to any human relationship is heresy and blasphemy. Every Christian has only one Lord and that is the Lord Jesus Christ from whom the whole body originates and is jointly fit together and nourished….

    Careful study reveals that the Headship of Christ has more to do with origins and the construction of his Body—the Church—as a whole, while the Lordship of Christ has more to do with his leadership and guidance of believers individually…

    In addition to being an immutable fact, The Headship of Christ is also an ongoing, active process of salvation and the building of his Church. No human, therefore, can claim “headship.” Being called “the head” is not the same as “headship.”

    According to Jocelyn’s work, the whole problem in Christian circles is that we have equated the word “head” with “lord.” Once we separate the two qualities that Christ has, and stop making the husband as head, mean “lord,” the whole passage makes sense.

    If the husband is head because Adam came first, and he is to love his wife self-sacrificially as Christ did, we never get to thinking in terms of a husband’s right to rule his wife. The only way that came into scripture at all, was in giving the word “head” the meaning of “authority.”

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