In this series so far, we have established that husbands and wives have different roles, Husbands are to be responsible, loving leaders that honor God and wives are to honor and submit to their husband as to the Lord. We have also established that wives are not in anyway inferior to their husbands just as Christ is not inferior to God.
But what significance does this have with roles in the church?
Paul calls the local church the “household of God” (1 Tim. 3:15) making an analogy between Christian homes and Christian churches. Paul also teaches that any person in the church should treat older men like fathers, older women like mothers and younger men and women like siblings (1 Tim. 5:1-2). It seems that, in terms of the way we relate to each other, whatever is good for the home is good for the church. Church is like a family so we should treat each other as such.
When describing qualifications of an overseer, Paul says:
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive (1 Timothy 3:4)
This means a man who has the skills to be a good father in his own household, will need those skills to be like a father in God’s household, the local church. An overseer is to be like a responsible, loving father of the church. This is where it’s important to remember that mother’s are not called to be the head of the home. The husband is the head of the wife and they together have authority over their children. So the leadership in a home falls primarily on the father. And simply put: mothers are not fathers. The same seems to be true in the church. The mothers of the church are not the fathers of the church. So Paul’s prohibition in 1 Tim. 2:12 makes sense:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
Paul could have left it at that but he gives two timeless reasons why he does not permit a woman to teach men or exercise authority over men.
The first reason is because of the creation order. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:13). Paul used this same line of thought in 1 Cor. 11:8. The creation order of man and woman is indicative of roles in the church.
The second reason (in connection to the first) is because Eve was deceived and not Adam. This brings us back to the fall in Genesis 3. The reason Paul brings this up is not because Eve and all women are more gullible and foolish than men. Nor is it because the women in Ephesus were easily deceived. Paul brings this up because Eve was deceived and led Adam to sin. Paul is reminding us that the role reversal Satan initiated and Adam allowed was a factor in our fall. Raymond Ortlund asks these questions about the fall in Genesis 3:
Isn’t it striking that we fell upon an occasion of sex role reversal? Are we to repeat this confusion forever? Are we to institutionalize it in evangelicalism in the name of the God who condemned it in the beginning?
We are not to make the same mistake as Adam and Eve. Men are not to ask women to do what the men are expected to do, namely, be the fathers of the church. We are not to ask women to be overseers or pastors. That is not a woman’s role. Paul and all of scripture together is quite clear on the male and female roles in the home and the church. Next we will look at how egalitarian churches view things differently.This is a 7-part series. For a comprehensive study, see Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem