Liberty for Women in Christ!
Quote by Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
"The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved."
God's Original Design
Before we go any further, let’s start out with God's original design for men and women in Gen 1:26-27 “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ And God created man [H120 ha-Adam - mankind] in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (G: ref Mat 19:4). This was the perfect plan of God.
It is important to notice the Greek words for 'male' [G730 arsen] and 'female' [G2338 thelu], because the Greek words for 'husband' [G435 aner] and 'wife' [G1135 gune] are quite different, which we will expound upon in this study. The beautiful revelation we will 'see' is that the husband and wife are the image of Christ and the Church.
When the fall of man happened a curse was given to each Adam, Eve and the snake. All were cursed equally. Adam was cursed by having the ground cursed with thorns and thistles so he would have to toil by the sweat of his face. Eve was cursed with her husband ruling over her and pain in childbirth. The snake was cursed to his belly (no legs) to slither around in the dust of the earth.
In 1 Tim 2:13-15 Paul states, “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. It was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman* [G1135 gune] being quite deceived, fell into transgression. But she* shall be preserved through the bearing of children [speaking of release from the original curse], if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
I find it interesting to see the words “faith”, “love” and “self-restraint”, as these are absolute fruit of the Spirit found in Gal 5:22 and also 1 Cor 13:13. Also, notice the Greek word for woman [gune] and compare it to the next verse, "But she [speaking of the woman in the previous verse] shall be preserved through the bearing of children". Considering the curse to the 'woman' was that her HUSBAND shall rule over her, this absolutely tells us it is not about males ruling over females, let alone others' husbands ruling over others' wives!!
Paul indeed puts the responsibility of sin on Eve in 1 Timothy, while he then puts the responsibility of sin on Adam in Rom 5:12-14 “Therefore, just as through one man [G444 anthropos] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men [G444], because all sinned—for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no Law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him (Christ) who is to come.”
So far, we've observed the Greek word for husband as G435, and while Adam is referred to as a husband in Gen 3:16, he is also the 'one man' [G444] whereby sin entered the world. Here are some interesting observations in the writings of the Apostle Paul. Considering there were female judges (Jud 4:4 - judge and prophetess - OT), apostles (Rom 16:7), prophetesses (Acts 21:9) and deaconesses (Rom 16:1) at the time of Paul, his instructions address the behavior of women as wives in regard to their own husbands. It is not to portray women (females or wives) as weak, unlearned, or unable to be used powerfully by God, even as preachers and teachers! Just as the Greek words are different with 'man', 'husband' and 'male', they are different for 'female' [G2338] and 'wife' [G1135]. 1 Cor 7:10 "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife [G1135] must not divorce her husband [G435]."
In 1 Cor 14:34-35, we MUST take it in full context (both verses): “Let the women [G1135 wives] keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands [G453 husband] at home; for it is improper for a woman [G1135 wife] to speak in church.” Now, regarding the law, Paul was not referring to the Law of Moses, for there's not one word about wives (or women) being silent in church in Mosaic law ~ nor in the 10 Commandments, for that matter.
1 Tim 2:9-12 “Likewise, I want women [G1135 wives] to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women [G1135 wives] making a claim to godliness. Let a woman [G1135 wife] quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman [G1135 wife] to teach or exercise authority [G831 authentein - act autonomously] over a [her] man [G435 husband], but to remain quiet." Did you notice 'man' is NOT G444?This does not mean a wife is not to wear nice clothing and jewelry, but back in those days the women would 'flaunt' or 'compete', showing their 'value' by braiding jewels into their hair and so forth. Paul is saying their value is inside, in having a relationship with Christ Jesus and exhibiting His attributes.
We might want to ponder what the Apostle Peter states in 1 Pet 3:1 "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives." Truly, it appears the husband's obedience is the motive/purpose here.
Marriage to Christ
The Mystery in Ephesians 5:21-33
More often than not, this passage is preached, beginning in verse 22. Let us NOT MISS verse 21!! "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
vs 22-33: “Wives [G1135], be subject to your husbands [G435] as [the Church is] to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church. He Himself being the Savior of the body. Here, we see an alignment between 'headship' and being the 'savior of the body'.
The Greek word for 'head' is kephale and it's definition aligns with being a 'savior' to his wife:
KEPHALE - source of being, origin of being. In Genesis 2 man or husband is spoken of as the source or origin of the woman's existence. Paul's point here is that she "comes" from him, NOT that the husband is the wife's boss or commander or ruler. KEPHALE is used in the Greek translation of the Hebrew in Genesis 2.
•militarily, the front-line soldier who is first in line of fire,the shock troop, the one who absorbs assaults and enemy fire.
Eph 5 goes on to say how a husband and wife should treat each other, but the passage is summed up in verse 32 “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church”. Therefore, if we re-read that passage and wherever the word “wife” is used, use the word “church”, and wherever the word “husband” is used, use the word “Christ”, we would get a better understanding of this “mystery”.
Verses 22-33 would read like this:
“The church ought to be subject to Christ in everything. Christ loves His church, as He gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So Christ loves the church as His own body because we are members of His body. For this cause, Christ left His Father to cleave unto the church, and they shall become one.”
Now, if we compare this to 1 Cor 11, this chapter tells us about the 'covering' of the wife by her husband (though using head-coverings as the example). Notice that vs 7 states the husband is not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God. This too, is a picture of Christ and the Church. The Lord Jesus is the Husband to the Church (Jer 31:32; Eph 5:32).
Therefore, all of us, as the bride of Christ must function in submission to Him and operate in the Spirit. I personally feel that if scripture is used by a pastor or husband to stifle the Spirit of God in the vessel of a woman, merely because she is a female or a wife, it is not what God intended. Consider what happened when Abigail disobeyed her husband, Nabal, and obeyed the voice of the LORD in 1 Samuel 25! David may not have killed Nabal because of Abigail's obedience, but the LORD did (vs. 37). Abigail then became David's wife.
Let's ponder for a moment the Woman that is rescued in Rev 12. Vs. 1 tells us the Woman is pregnant, so this is obviously a Wife or Virgin Wife (Mary, the mother of Jesus ~ or representative of the Church - parable of the 10 Virgins ring a bell?). Vs. 17 tells us "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman [G1135 Wife] and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
One in Christ
2 Cor 6:14 states “Be ye not unequally yoked.” While this is speaking of not yoking ourselves with unbelievers, do you know what being equally yoked means? Imagine two cows connected by a yoke (a wooden bar or frame by which two animals (as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together). If one goes too fast and the other falls behind, each will be hurt. But, if they walk in sync, both accomplish much. So, for a man to “lord” over his wife (as in a dictatorship) is unfruitful, as well as it is for the wife to “lord” over her husband. Likewise, the body of Christ is to show reverence to Him, yet rest in His unfailing love and sanctification. This goes right along with Eph 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Let's look at 1 Cor 7:4-5 (regarding sexual oneness) "The wife does not have authority [exousiazei - has right] over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority [exousiazei - has right] over his own body, but the wife does."
Now, let's go down to verses 33-34 "But a married man is concerned about things of this world, that is, about how he can please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband."
Paul clarifies oneness in the Lord in 1 Cor 11:11-12 "However, in the Lord, neither is woman [G1135] independent of man [G435], nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God."
The Word says when we consummate the marriage, we are no longer two, but one flesh. what does it mean to be one flesh? This is the feminine Greek word mia of the masculine Greek word heis, Hebrew word echad. While some Jewish scholars believe the 'one flesh' is produced in the child of the husband and wife, I believe it is reflective of the Church being one with Jesus Christ. As we discussed in the beginning of this hub, the male [arsen] and female [thelu], upon consummation, become husband [aner] and wife [gune]. God made male and female to become husband and wife, the image of Christ and the Church. Through their consummation comes new birth, physically and spiritually.
We serve our Lord with gladness. Our Lord gave His very life for us! Mat 10:26 and Mark 10:43 state, "But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;" Jesus washed His disciples' feet and humbled Himself to dying on the cross! He is the King of Kings! Put down the oppression and pride, for Prov 3:34 states "Surely He scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly."
Female Apostles & Prophetesses
Finally, let’s look at the end-time prophesy stated in Joel 2:28-29 “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons [ben - sons] and daughters [bath - daughters] will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. And even on the male [ebed - servant] and female [shiphchah - maidservant] servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
This is prophesied again by Jesus Himself in Acts 2:17-18 “‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon My bondslaves [doulous], both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.”
Even in Paul's time, daughters prophesied! Acts 21:9 tells us "Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses." So, if they get married they lose the gift of prophecy? I don't think so.
We also see that My bondslaves in Acts 2 are both men and women in the last days. Let’s look at just four passages where Jesus’ bondslaves, also known as bondservants, are mentioned:
Rom 1:1 “Paul, a bondservant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,”
2 Pet 1:1 “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ…”
Jam 1:1 “James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…”
1 Pet 2:16 “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
So, were all bondslaves and apostles male? Not even in Paul’s time! Rom 16:7 tells us of a female apostle named Junia, his relative: “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Know that the "silent women" ordinance is only in regard to a wife to her own husband (when it comes to behavior in the congregation and at home). We can see that Junia, who scholars believe was married to Andronicus, glorified the Lord in ministry!!
Once again, because of the English translation of the Bible, women have been oppressed for centuries, held back by the Enemy. All born-again believers preach by the authority of our Lord and by His Spirit. God does not pour out a different Spirit upon males than He does females. WOMEN, married or not, you CAN PREACH!! you CAN TEACH!! Wives, obey the commandment of the Lord given through Paul in respect to your own husbands. May the Lord continue to use women mightily in His ministry, and LET NO MAN (male or female) HINDER HIS SPIRIT! Amen!!
Renewed to His Image
Did you know that Gentiles were considered “dogs”, even by Jesus? Look at Mat 15:24-28: “But he answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel’. But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ And He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘O woman [G1135], your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed at once.” The woman was not a dog, but the fact she was a Gentile.
- Consider the 'dog' who delivered the first message of Christ to the Samaritans? The woman at the well, who had had five 'husbands' and was currently living with a man not her husband (John 4:28-29).
- And who was it that took the news of the resurrection of our LORD back to the disciples? Mary Magdeline and the other Mary (Mar 28:7-8).
After Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, we read the words of Paul in Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek [Hellen: Gentile], there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male [arsen] nor female [thelu]; for you are all one [mia] in Christ Jesus.”
Col 3:9-11 “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him - a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythina, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”
In this same passage, in verse 14 “And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
Jesus CHOSE Mary to Deliver the FIRST Gospel Message TO the Apostles!
An Excellent Hub by graceomalley!
- Can Women Talk In Church: The Apostle Paul And Women
A little while ago a forum question was posted asking if women could speak in church. The poster referred to the (in)famous First Timothy 2:12 passage. This verse can stir up a host of reactions, and I...
An Awesome Hub by RevLady!
- Status of Women in Old and New Testaments
In the Old Testament the primary position of the woman was within the context of family life. The father/husband exercised primary responsibility for the female members of the family which included slaves.
An Outstanding Theological Article: God's Word to Women
- Women Keep Silent
Did Paul Really Say, Women Keep Silent In the Churches. Dennis Preato explains why the traditional interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is incorrect.
- God's Law on Marriage and Divorce
Until this week I didn’t understand God’s Law regarding marriage and divorce. I always thought that a marriage could end in divorce, if one or both of the spouses committed adultery (violation of the marriage covenant by sleeping with another), based
More by this Author
Who is GOD? WOW. What a concept to try to wrap our human brains around! I’ve read all kinds of interpretations of the trinity and some of the scriptures cause confusion as to exactly how we are to interpret the...
I would say this is a 'strong meat' question (Heb 5:14). The question came up as to whether God created Satan to be evil, or whether God created all things ‘good’ (as we understand it). Many people have...
I never know WHAT the LORD would have me study or write on next, but at this time I have been compelled to take on the task. In order to find out who or what the seven spirits of God ARE, we have to first accept what...