We’ve talked here in the past about the fact that, in our day, one of the most debated issues of the Bible is whether God has given men authority over women in the home and church.
We’ve sensed that, even though we have been able to discuss many difficult subjects with candor and grace, this one surfaced some occasional edginess and irritability.
Since, in places other than this blog, some have characterized such thinking a re-writing of the Bible, I thought I’d ask you to join me once again in asking:
- Is it rewriting the Bible to define leadership the way Jesus does when he says that in his kingdom those who lead are as those who serve (Luke 22:24-27)?
- Is it rewriting the Bible to say that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church–specifically illustrated not by Christ sitting on his throne—but by Christ suffering and sacrificing for the good of the church (Eph 5:25)?
- Is it rewriting the Bible to say that, as the head of his wife, a husband is to nurture and care for her as he nurtures and cares for his own body (Eph 5:28-29)?
- Is it rewriting the Bible to say that in context the Bible is asking wives to lovingly submit to the good of husbands who, if they are followers of Christ, are assumed first to be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:17-21). (Paul tells us what that looks like not only in Eph 5 but also in Gal 5:22-23?
- Is it rewriting the Bible to say that all followers of Christ (including husbands and wives) are to do unto one another as they would want done unto them (Matt 7:12) (especially when Jesus sums this up as the message of the law and the prophets)?
- Is it rewriting the Bible to point out that when the Apostle Paul directly mentions “authority” in marriage, he does so as a mutual responsibility in the representational intimacy of the marriage act (1Cor 7:4)?
- Is it rewriting the Bible’s meaning of “head” to point out that it is clearly more than a picture of authority when, (as in Eph 5:23-30)? Paul also uses the idea of “head” and “body” in a much broader way (Eph 4:15-16; Col 2:19).
Is this a revisionist approach to husband and wife relationships, as some fear? Don’t these texts actually reclaim and clarify the meaning of “head” from the damage that has been done to it by a surrounding runaway culture that tracks all the way back to our first parents fall into sin—and the curse that followed (Gen 3:15-16)?
Seems to me that when we interpret the Bible in its historical and grammatical context, it will clearly show that if the Bible does give men authority over women in the home and church—it is certainly not the kind of authority that has done so much damage to women and to the reputation of Christ—and to a high view of the Bible.