romantic sunset

God created Adam first, then Eve. Adam had spent some time in the garden before the creation of Eve, gaining some experience in living as a new creation. During this period, God gave Adam some instruction. (Gen. 2:15-20) Being the first to be created, Adam was to take the lead in this new family arrangement. His initial role was his informing Eve about the things he had learned from God before her creation, such as the eating from the trees.

Today, the Christian congregation is the same. The apostle Paul wrote, “I do not permit a woman … to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (1 Tim. 2:12-13) This does not mean that the woman cannot talk in the Christian congregation. She is to be silent as in not challenging the authority of men by belittling his lead over the congregation, nor to teach the congregation. This does not mean that she cannot teach the Sunday school for the children or even a Bible study group for women. However, the primary teaching of the Christian congregation is the men’s responsibility alone.[1]

The apostle Paul offers us insights into the role of men and women when he wrote, “For man is not from woman, but woman from man. For indeed man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man. This is why the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord neither is woman separate from man nor is man separate from woman. For just as the woman is from the man, so also the man is through the woman; but all things are from God.”–1 Corinthians 11:8-12.

WIVES - Be SubjectLooking back at the Law given to the Israelites rights, freedoms, and was treated with honor. They could show their ability to act on your own and make decisions without the help or advice of their husband. Proverbs 31:10-31 speaks of “An excellent wife” who with her own hands gladly makes clothes for the family. Why she even makes clothes to sell to the shop owners. (Verses 13, 21-24) She is like a sailing ship that brings food from across the sea. (Verse 14) She knows how to buy land and how to plant a vineyard. (Verse 16) She knows when to buy or sell, and she stays busy until late at night. (Verse 18) She helps the poor and the needy. She takes good care of her family and is never lazy. (Verses 20, 27) Thus, the wife was shown respect and praised in public for what she had done.–Verse 31.

The opportunity for women to make spiritual progress existed under the Mosaic Law. In Joshua 8:35, we read, “There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read aloud in front of all the congregation of Israel, including the women and children and the foreign residents who were living among them.” In the book of Nehemiah, we read about Ezra, “So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read aloud from it before the public square in front of the Water Gate, from daybreak until midday, to the men, the women, and all who could understand; and the people listened attentively to the book of the Law. (Neh. 8:2-3) The women under Israelite Law benefited from the reading of God’s Word. The women enjoyed these reading and benefited from the wisdom the same as the men did.

Then, we move to the days of Jesus, where we find several women tending to the needs of Jesus, playing an important role in his ministry. (Lu 8:1-3) While the men treated Jesus with disdain, we find one woman that saw Jesus as so special, “a woman with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil approached him, and she began pouring it on his head as he was dining,” anointing Jesus. (Matt. 26:6-13; John 12:1-7) It was a woman, namely, Mary Magdalene, who was the first person that Jesus appeared to after his resurrection. (Matt. 28:1-10; John 20:1-18) After Jesus had ascended back to heaven, there were 120, who met in the upper room to pray, which included “the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Acts 1:3-15) That means that there were women in the upper room on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., when “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” and many spoke in a number of different languages.–Acts 2:1-12.

It was both men and women who were among those that experienced the prophecy of Joel 2:28-29, as the Apostle Peter quoted it. He said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy … and even on my male slaves and on my female slaves I will pour out some of my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:13-18) In the first century and into the beginning of the second century C.E., women were favored with the gifts of the Spirit.[2] They spoke in foreign languages and prophesied. Note that prophesying does not necessarily mean making predictions because the Greek word (propheteuo) also means to proclaim the Word of God., i.e., sharing Scriptural truths. In his letter to Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul speaks affectionately of “Phoebe our sister,” recommending her to them. He writes, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a minister of the congregation at Cenchreae.” (Rom. 16:1) What does the word “minister” mean to the modern day reader?

Servant, Minister: (diakonos) The term can refer to one who holds the position of deacon within a Christian congregation, but the term does not necessarily mean that because the Bible uses the word diakonos in a broader sense, as one who waits on or attends to the needs of others. (Matt. 20:26; Rom. 16:1; Eph. 6:21; 1 Thess. 3:2) It is also used in the broad sense of those who witness to unbelievers, sharing Scriptural truths, for the purpose of converting them to the faith. (Rom. 16:1-2, 12; Phil. 4:2-3) When Paul refers to “our sister Phoebe, a minister of the congregation at Cenchreae,” he is not talking about a religious leader, male or female, who presides over a congregation. Women in the first century had no position of authority within the Christian congregation as an elder (overseer) or deacon (minister, servant). They served as ministers in that “these women, [were ones] who struggled alongside [Paul] for the gospel” (Phil. 4:2-3), as well as many others to grow the Christian faith from 120 disciples in 33 C.E., to over one million disciples by 130 C.E. They were ministers in the sharing of the gospel.

A Christian sister can minister many ways today. She can be used to carry out Sunday school classes for the children, to run a Bible study for women in the congregation, to share biblical truth within her community to grow the congregation. We also have many female Christian apologists today, who defend the faith, the Bible, and God himself. Some of these have become Christian apologist authors, like Judy Salisbury.[3] Women have also played a major role in the missionary field as well.

WIVES - Be SubjectIf man and woman develop and grow their roles with the Christian congregation, as well as in the marriage, it will bring them happiness. It is when one or the other goes beyond the Word of God, trying to usurp a position that is not theirs to be had, we find conflict. Yes, the modern day feminist movement and liberal and moderate Christianity have twisted the scriptures to try to make the Bible say things that it does not. The apostle Peter tells “some things [are] hard to understand [in Paul’s letters], which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Pet. 3:15-16) Conservative Christian women, some with bachelor degrees, master’s degrees and even doctorates in religious education do not alter the Word of God for the sake of modern feminism. The husband too does no go beyond the Scriptures, but rather he exercises his headship, not in a selfish way, but in a loving way.–Ephesians 5:25-33.

A Christian wife ‘should have deep respect for her husband.’ (Eph. 5:33) Max Anders writes, “Respect (phobetai) literally means “fear.” It can refer, however, to the fear a person should have before God, a reverence and respect (Luke 1:50; 18:2; Acts 10:35; 1 Pet. 2:17; Rev. 14:7; 19:5). This type of reverence and regard should characterize the relationship of a wife and her husband.”[4]

Peace and harmony succeed, overcome, and conquer when men and women carry out their God-given roles. This results in their happiness and delight. Moreover, obeying with Scriptural requirements clothes the husband and the wife with the self-respect associated with an honored place in God’s family.

[1] Women In the Pulpit? (July 30, 2017)

https://christianpublishinghouse.co/2017/01/03/women-in-the-pulpit/

[2] The Holy Spirit and the Apostolic Church (July 30, 2017)

https://christianpublishinghouse.co/2017/05/26/the-holy-spirit-and-the-apostolic-church/

The Holy Spirit and the Apostles (July 30, 2017)

https://christianpublishinghouse.co/2017/05/26/the-holy-spirit-and-the-apostles/

The Holy Spirit in the First Century and Today (July 30, 2017)

https://christianpublishinghouse.co/2017/05/25/the-holy-spirit-in-the-first-century-and-today/

[3] http://tiny.cc/eemrmy

[4] Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 173–174.