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Sunday: Counsel to Christian Wives — 16 Comments

  1. There are two issues in reading this passage.

    • Gender roles have changed significantly in our modern society even in my own lifetime. We have had a culture shift and like most changes coming to terms with that takes time.
    • Some folk use this passage to justify their own interpretation of gender roles. And to be honest, some of that interpretation is exploitative and we need to be careful what we justify or criticize.

    I think that we all too often get caught up in gender role arguments when Paul is really using it as a practical demonstration of the sort of relationship we have with Christ. It is significant that in my AI interaction with this passage it pointed out that irrespective of our interpretive viewpoint, this passage emphasizes the importance of love, respect, and mutual submission, in both marriage and the spiritual application.

    As you know, I am married and although Carmel and I have been married for over 50 years our marriage is not perfect. However even with all our faults it serves as a continued reminder of the patient love of Jesus for us.

    • First, I have the deepest respect for the Pauline epistles! However,in today's world and culture, how are we supposed to apply I Timothy 2:11-15(NIV): "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."

      • Yep! that is a bit of a tough one isn't it! I think we have to accept that the culture was very different at the time when Paul was writing. Some of his comments regarding slavery have similar ideas. Let me sidestep the issue for just a moment. In my research days, there were very few women doing PhDs in computer science, but the women who were brave enough to join in were soon highly respected because of the contribution they made. Of course, they were following in the footsteps of some very talented pioneers in the field; Ada Lovelace and Grace Hooper, two women who both made valuable contributions to the field. When I read academic papers in computer science I read for the content and I don't check the gender of the writer.

        I think Paul was addressing a local issue in the culture of his time rather than setting in concrete a precedent for all time.

        • No I believe what Paul said is just not for his time but is indeed still relevant in our morden society.
          Let's say what Paul said was in tented for Gods purpose. The UN Conventions were created for man's interest.

  2. Submission in marriage is not about the humiliation or degrading of wives.Wives are to have a heart of respect to their husbands,and support them as they are their husbands' helpers.Disagreements are inevitable in a marriage setting,but wives have to express freely their thoughts or opinions.Husbands are not supposed to demand submission from their wives.Both men and women were created in the image of God.By wives submitting to their husbands,does not mean an inherent inferiority or that wives have to lose their identity.

    Submission does not mean that the husbands are to be oppressive,harmful or unjust to their wives.

  3. So this is a discussion I have with my wife: Why are gender roles changing? Is it greed because men are pressuring women to work so they can make more money? Or is it that women are feeling unfulfilled living at home raising children? Or other factors?

    • Yes, men are pressuring women to work so they can make more money. Yes women are feeling unfulfilled living at home when they could have successful business careers. But we can also ask other questions too about the perception men have of their roles. Should men be willing to spend more time with their families and maybe put their career on hold to be a more visible father presence in the home?

      In my own career as a church worker, any decision about accepting calls to new work was always based on my career. Carmel had to put up with that and go through the process of finding a new job herself. That was wrong. And I am thankful now that the church often takes into account the careers of both partners in a marriage before placing a call.

      There is no doubt that the changes have been challenging, but they offer the potential to be rewarding if he are willing to learn.

    • I have read the Bible many times and I don't really see prescribed gender roles besides of course men being fathers and women being mothers. In an agricultural society, the women would have worked alongside their husbands as would the children when they were able. Obviously there were differences - the men were soldiers and performed more manual tasks but I think physical strength determined this more than it being a set gender role. Even then women did participate in war to some extent (think Jael, the woman who dropped the millstone on Abimelech). We often think of cooking as a woman's role, but we see Jacob doing this in Genesis. And Proverbs seems to emphasize the parent roles of both fathers and mothers which makes sense as the children would have worked with their fathers during the day.

      Culture shapes us more than we realize and we live within a culture so that's inevitable, but I think it's important we not assume that one form or another is God's will for us. That may not be so.

      As a female, I'm very thankful that I can vote, that I can work and provide for myself and not be dependent on a man, that I can serve God in the church. 150 years ago many women didn't have those options. Some of these changes have some negative consequences but mostly I feel the changes are good ones and in harmony with the ideals of the Bible (going back to Eden).

  4. "I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be there god, and they will be my people."
    Hebrews 8:10

    It has been my experience while walking in the Spirit that God has directed me to honor certain Christian males with my submission. This seems to be one of the laws God has instilled in my mind and my heart; and it has brought much joy to my being. I find this same concept working in my submission to God through His Son, Jesus.

    I thank God for His Unmerited Favor when I fail in doing this concerning my earthly duties. I am looking forward to His return when He will give us all a perfectly healthy bodies and minds.

  5. The lesson today is presented in a way that not only applys as counsel to wives but as insight to husband's as how to allow wives to be in a one relationship. 😀 Allowing your wife to take part in the relationship. Now that does not mean we as men back off and to a 30/70, or a 10/90 relationship. What woman would want a non-participating man? It is important for there to be 50/50. Makes for a better relationship. He gives she gives equally.

    If we go back to Ephesians 2:7-10. I like The Message paraphrase. Paul implies we are to be partners with God in Christ with good works. And we had better get busy. So it is in our relationship with our wife's we are to be partners.

    Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
    Ephesians 2:7‭-‬10 MSG.

    I'm so glad I'm part of the family of God. Adopted or born in, does not matter, I am still part of the family of God, by my faith in Him through His grace. Yes because I have asked for forgivness, repented and surrendered to Him.

  6. Christ is the key to balance out every relationship. Paul uses the importance of marriage and compares this relationship with what happens between the church and Christ. Christ is the groom; the church is the bride. This means that marriage should be sacred, and as in church, everyone has a proper role. Christ is the head, and the church is the body. Both are connected.

    In reality, being God, Christ could even survive without the church, but this comparison shows how intense and vital the church is for Him, like a body that cannot survive without the head and vice versa.

  7. I had always wondered about the Apostle Paul's mentioning here about the "Washing of water," for wives submission to their husbands here. I was also taken back by what Ezekiel here writes about Abraham being a Hititie and his wife an Amorite and then goes on to describe his wife as being in her blood and also being adorned with a nose ring and necklaces and all sorts of jewelry by (God) too. Then it goes on to mention God washing his bride with water etc. This must be where the Apostle Paul throws in the idea of the "Washing of water," for a wife to submit to her husband. Maybe this is also why God has brought his "Church," to being under the United States Government where women are not so much under a husbands rigorous "Macho Man," control by giving the woman more true freedom from that kind of "Male," control and more true freedom of movement to serve God in her own true freedom to do so and even under a "Wife," to a husband in all true Christian service to God.

    • Hi Pete, Commentaries on Ezekiel 16:3 and Ezekiel 16:45 say that God was chiding Israel about their ancestory using figure of speech.

      And say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: “Your [a]birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. Ezekiel 16:3

      You are your mother’s daughter, [a]loathing husband and children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children; your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. Ezekiel 16:45

    • I am sorry you feel that way Rob. I too am single and these lessons help me understand how we all put each other first in our relationships and families. You don't have to be married to be a part of a family. You don't have to be married to appreciate how important relationships are. Studying this week's lesson I have appreciated the illustration of marriage and weddings to help me understand Christ's love for His church. I appreciate my married friends because they are a very literal object lesson helping me understand God's love for the church. My married friends love and appreciate me and by so doing help illustrate how God's love works. As married people reach out to me they show love for the community just as Christ and His bride reach out to the world and show the love of God. As a single person there is much I have learned from this week's lesson. There is much I learn about God by studying marriage just like I learn a lot about God by studying the sanctuary.

    • I understand your problem Rob. I am aware that not every metaphor fits everybody. I know a fine Christian gentleman who had a lot of difficulty with the idea of God the Father because he had an abusive and unloving father as a child. His relationship with God was fine and he had other ways of describing God that were creative and meaningful.

      This lesson is really about relationships and I would be interested to hear what sort of relationships help you to appreciate and love God. Here are a few that I find meaningful:
      An artist and their painting.
      A scientist and their field of research.
      A person and their pet dog.
      A bird photographer and birds.
      A teacher and their class.

      We do not have to fit God into one metaphor.


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