||Is all of what the Bible says on women from God?
||No. A general Bible principle applies: Just because a person says something in the Bible doesn't mean that God stamped his approval on it. There are murderers, slaves, prostitutes, adulterers and male chauvinists running about and saying all sorts of things in the Bible. Their statements and deeds, whether they are or are not specifically rebutted elsewhere in the Bible, does not mean that God approves of them. There are enough statements and actions of God relating to such topics, including those about women, that we are able to differentiate between the actions of man and the wishes of God. It is our job to differentiate. It is possible. It is often easy.
||Are wives supposed to submit to their husbands?
||Yes. And the opposite is also true. The verse right before "wives submit to your husbands" (Eph 5:22), is "submit to one another" (Eph 5:21). The husbands are supposed to submit to their wives as well.
||Why do I only hear one side of the story?
A reason why you only hear "wives submit to your husbands" is because this verse in most Bibles is the first sentence under a new section . The new section is often proclaimed in big bold italic letters Wives and Husbands. It is too easy to start reading from the start of the section header without examining the context, in this case, the very sentence before. Most everyone, pastors included, are guilty of overlooking this one
An amusing and important fact is that there are no sections, chapters or verses in the original Bible. Those things are contrivances for our referencing convenience written into the Bible many centuries later. Therefore, if you want to read the Bible as the authors wrote it, ignore those artificial stops. It makes a big difference many times.
||Can a woman teach or have authority over a man?
||Yes. Just because Paul said in 1 Ti 2:12 "I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man." does not mean that God agrees with Paul. Note that Paul says, "I do not permit . . . .", not "God does not permit . . . ." Paul confesses that this is not God's idea.
Many Christians subconciously interchange Paul's use of the word "I" for "God." In doing so, they elevate Paul to Godhood. Me correcting Paul, to them, is like me arrogantly correcting God. It is bad enough to think I can correct Paul.
Many Christians believe that every word in the Bible is the "inerrant word of God." So me declaring Paul wrong, seems that I am declaring that the word of God is errant, therefore God himself is errant. To them, I am preaching heresy.
I am only declaring that Paul made a logic error. A logic error. That is the only thing I am saying. Paul makes mistakes. God remains perfect. Paul just got it wrong. What Paul preaches in 1 Ti 2:12 is not what God preaches. I will show the difference below. I am a firm believer that all humans make mistakes. I believe that even Paul, as great as he his, is still only human. I only dare correct Paul, and only in this one area, after years of study. And I still say such things with fear. Paul was a great man.
||But Paul justifies his opinion in verses 1 Ti 2:13-15. Is Paul's justification Godly?
||No. Paul attempts to justify his position using Scripture, but his justification, even though "Biblical", is not Godly. Paul's justification of "I do not permit a woman to have authority over a man, and the woman will be saved through childbearing" is a reference from Ge 3:16:
"I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.
Paul took God's words out of context . I will illustrate this next.
||How does Paul's justification in 1 Ti 2:13-15 twist God's will?
||Because Paul misinterprets Ge 3:16 as a command. 3:16 is just a description. 3:16 is not a command.
Ge 3:16 describes one thing that went wrong for women in the aftermath of sin. "Husbands rule over their wives." This state is part of the fallen condition. This is bad. This verse is nestled among other descriptions of the fallen condition.
To Paul, it is a command. We are to strive for it! BUT we are not to strive for the fallen condition! God does not want men to rule over their wives anymore than God wants us to commit murder. We are to avoid murder. We are to avoid ruling over our wives. We are to overcome the fallen condition with the help of Jesus.
I'll illustrate Paul's misuse of God's words with an analogy. Imagine yourself as a child. Imagine your mother giving you a lecture about the dangers of crossing the highway:
1. Mom: "Sweetheart, don't run into the middle of the highway. You will be hurt."
2. You: "Okay mom."
3. The next day you run out in the middle of the highway anyway. A car hits you. You end up in the hospital.
4. Mom: "Honey, I told you not to run into the highway. Now you are hurt. You have broken ribs. It hurts for you to breathe. You have a crushed wrist. You'll never be able to play ball again."
Ge 3:16 is like sentence 4. It is a description of your pain. I'll now do the 1 Ti 2:12 equivalent of sentence 4:
"You must hurt for the rest of your life . You must have broken ribs the rest of your life. You must have pain in breathing from now on. Your wrist must remain crushed. Never play ball again."
This twist is exactly what Paul did to God's words. Check for yourself. Check the context. Paul incorrectly treated the details of the sinful condition as commands for life. Paul made a mistake. A rather big one
Paul's logic mistakes do not stop there. In the next three verses, 1 Ti 2:13-15, Paul tries to defend his statements. But Paul only succeeds to heap bad logic upon bad logic. Paul has already deviated from the truth. Now it gets worse. Paul now claims that Adam's leadership over the woman is justified because 1) Adam was created first, and 2) Eve was the one deceived.
The problem with claim 1 is that by extending Paul's logic, birds should rule over man because birds were created first. The problem with claim 2 is that while it was true that Eve was deceived, it is also true that Adam was deceived. Both were deceived. Adam also ate the apple. Eve listened to the serpent. Adam listened to Eve. Which is worse? If Adam was not deceived, then what was Adam? Just plain dumb? Adam and Eve knew that the consequence of eating the apple was death, but they both did it anyway. God did not compare whose sin was worse. Both committed the same sin. Both equally disobeyed God by eating the apple.
||Did Paul say that all this is the "Law" and that it is Lord's command in 1 Co 14:37?
||Yes. Paul said that. Insert foot in mouth. By invoking the Lord's name, Paul has hung himself with his own opinions. In 1 Co 14:37, Paul explicitly says that his ideas are God's. This statement is similar to 1 Ti 2. Paul again tells women to shut up in church, be submissive as the "Law" says, don't bother the church preacher with questions, and wait till you get home to ask your husbands. In a last ditch effort to add authority to his shakey opinions, Paul invokes the name of the Lord.
||Why is "women shutting up" not the Lord's command?
||You will never read anywhere in the Bible where God says anything like that. Jesus actually commands the reverse. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I wonder if Paul would have liked it if someone told him "It is disgraceful for you to speak in church." or "Stop bothering the preacher. Go home and ask your wife about it." Paul commands are in direct violation of Jesus's golden rule.
By Paul invoking the "Law", we now see exactly where he made the error. Paul actually made two errors. The Ge 3:16-19 list contains death, pain and more sin. All bad things in the eyes of God. Classify the subjugation of woman under "more sin".
Error 1. Ge 3:16-19 is not the Law--for although Ge 3:16-19 was written by Moses, the Law of Moses was separate and was implemented several thousands of years after Adam;
Error 2. Ge 3:16-19 are the consequences of sin; they are not commands. Ge 3:16-19 is a description, not a prescription. Pain in childbearing, toiling for food, death, and men ruling over woman are all bad things in God's eyes. They should be avoided.
Do your parents help you to recover if you were injured? Of course. As your parents help you out of your fallen condition, so God helps us out of our Fallen condition. God himself actively removes the effects of Ge 3:16-19. Has not Jesus taken death away? Eternal life is ours again. Has not Jesus put sin to death? We are to actively count ourselves dead to sin. Therefore, we men are not to rule over women. If Paul followed God in this singular activity, Paul would have tried to remove the effects of Ge 3:16. Paul should have encouraged women to learn all they could about God, speak in church, and to be leaders. But Paul, only a mere man, missed the concept.
What would Jesus do? Jesus himself had no problem talking with women. And women had no problem just coming up to him and talking. Did God tell Mary to consult Joseph about the meaning of the angel's visitation? Obviously not. So there is no barrier between God and women. If there is no barrier in God's eyes, men should not impose one. Men should neither erect a barrier in the work place or in church.
||What was women's role before the Fall?
||Before the Fall (that is before Adam and Eve sinned), Eve was co-ruler of the earth with Adam. Ge 1:27-28. She shared in Adam's work. Adam was a field biologist. He took care of the garden. That was her job too. Ge 2:18-19. Eve did not stay home with the children while Adam worked. They both had the same job.
||What did woman become after the Fall?
||Baby-makers. Adam named the woman "Eve", which means "Mother of the Living". The act of naming the woman "Eve" was Adam's first act after Ge 3:16. Adam now has the sinful nature. This act was Adam's first assertion of "ruling over his wife".
Renaming is an act of domination. (Just try to rename your wife and see if she'll let you do it.) Adam or God (it is not clear) had already named her 'woman' (Ge 2:22) -- a declaration of equality. In the aftermath of sin, Adam's renaming her to Eve reduced her from co-ruler of the earth to mother of the living. While mother of the living is true and not bad, it is a still a subtle reduction of status.
The Bible mentions the name change, but remember, no where does God approve it. As now since we understand the context of Ge 3:16, we now know that this first act of Adam's was a bad thing. Adam and Eve's job prior to the Fall was to name the animals as an act of dominion, not each other. After Ge 3:16, sin has become the norm.
As the generations went by, sin grew worse and worse. With each passing generation, man fell deeper and deeper into the pit of sin. In accordance with that, the social position of women became less and less. That was never God's will. That was men's will. A consequence of moving away from God.
||Is there an example of a woman in the Bible that had authority over men and of whom God approves?
||Yes. I'll name two: Deborah and Esther. Deborah was judge over the entire nation of Israel. Esther was Queen of Persia. You can read about Deborah in Judges 4 and 5. You can read about Esther in the book of Esther. These stories are fun reading. Hollywood has even made a movie out of Esther.
||I hear that "Deborah" was leader over all Israel because no man was willing to take the job.
||I'd say you've been listening to Southern Baptists. :) There is no evidence or hints that support that statement. Deborah is given the same, if not more commendations, as the other judges. God's stamp of approval is on Deborah in several places. 1) Jdg 2:16 which announces that all the "Lord raised up judges to save the people . . ." of which Deborah was one. 2) Jdg 5 which makes the final statement about Deborah's success: "Then the land had peace for forty years."
||The author of the book of Hebrews credits Israel's survival during the time of Deborah to Barak (Heb 11:32).
||Yes, that it true. But the author of Hebrews was not reading his Bible thoroughly. While Barak did have an important part in saving Israel, Barak would not go into battle unless Deborah went with him (Jdg 4:8). Barak followed Deborah's orders, not vice-versa. God even reprimanded Barak for putting a condition on Deborah's orders. Barak was always in Deborah's shadow. The author of Hebrews clouded over this fact.
||Paul is saying that women cannot have ecclesiastical authority over a man.
||This is typical Southern Baptist phraseology. Anyway, that statement is a pompous way of saying that women are not allowed to have authority over men in church matters. It is a rationalization which allows women to lead men in business or world government, allows women to lead the hum-drum tasks of the church where they are indespensible, but keeping women from teaching, pastoring and holding real power in a church.
No matter from what perspective you analyze the statement, the statement is wrong. The sin of Ge 3:16, with the help of Paul, continues to this day.
From God's point of view, Deborah exercised ecclesiastical authority over men. Deborah judged Israel using her own Bible (The Law of Moses) and God's own voice to exercise authority and judge matters over all people--men and women.
From man's point of view, limiting a woman's authority to non-ecclesiastical realms introduces a double standard. If a woman can be prime minister of England, why not pastor of a church? Everyone, Christian or not, sees the hypocrisy in that.
||My pastor explains away many of Paul's comments about women to the traditions of his time.
||And I would agree with that. While some traditions are antiquated, some harmless and some even good, some traditions of men are sinful. The subjugation of women has been such a tradition of men since the days of Ge 3:16. It was wrong in Ge 3:16. It was wrong thousands of years later when Paul did it. It is still wrong today. It will be wrong tomorrow.