Women Pastors: Part 4 – Roles Restored

woman-teacherThe gospel teaches that in Jesus Christ, believers are reconciled to God and are redeemed. The redemption of man means they are no longer bound by the curse and besides being free from death, they are able to restore the roles a husband and wife had before the fall. Husbands can now, in Christ, lead their wives in worshipping God. Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 11 clearly teach that roles in marriage are important today.

Ephesians 5
Paul says wives are to submit to their husbands as to the Lord for the husband is the head of the wife. Paul compares this relationship to Christ being the head of the church and the church submitting to Christ (Eph. 5:22-24). Paul then says that husbands are to love their wives and he compares that relationship to Christ loving the church, sacrificially (Eph. 5:25-27). Adam may have failed to be the head of Eve but because of Jesus Christ fulfilling His role, we can turn around and fulfill what Adam and Eve did not. We have new motivation and power in Christ to be like Christ and lead where we should lead and submit where we should submit. We can trust God that these roles are important and good for us because Christ being our head is important and good for us.

Paul then affirms that a husband and wife, despite their different roles, are of equal value. Paul does this by saying that husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies, loving your wife equally to the way, you’d love yourself. Paul reminds them that they are one flesh unions just as Adam and Eve modeled before the fall (Eph. 5:28-33).

1 Corinthians 11
V. 11:3 says:

I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Paul says the same thing as he did in Ephesians 5:23, that the husband is the head of his wife and Christ is the head of the man. Paul also adds here that God is the head of Christ. Thomas Schreiner says:

I think Paul added the headship of God over Christ right after asserting the headship of man over woman in order to teach that the authority of man over woman does not imply the inferiority of women or the superiority of men. Some Corinthians may have concluded that the headship of man over woman diminished woman’s worth. Paul anticipates this objection and adds that God is the head over Christ. And even though God (i.e., the Father) is the head over Christ, He is not essentially greater than Christ. So too, even though women are under men’s authority, they are not essentially inferior.

Again, Paul is teaching that men and women relate to each other differently but are equal in value. Paul then explains that women are to cover their heads in church so as not to dishonor herself and her husband (1 Cor. 11:4-7). His reason for this cultural practice is what applies to us today. 1 Cor. 11:8-10 says:

For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

The reason Paul expects woman to adorn themselves a certain way is rooted in the creation order for man and woman. This is the same way he will argue that women should not teach men or exercise authority over men in the church. The creation order is indicative of male headship.

This is a 7-part series. For a comprehensive study, see Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem
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