Most theologians say that the woman is equal to the man, who is the head of the wife. The Idea of submission is explained in equality between husband and wife. Then what is the headship of the husband? Christ is the Head of the church, and the church submits to Christ, but Christ never obeyed the church. Christ is the head of man who submits to Christ, but the Lord Jesus does not obey the man. Equality between husband and wife is heresy. Should therefore, the husbands obey their wives and wives obey their husbands? What then is the headship of the husband, understanding that headship is directing, mastering, and protecting if the wife is equal with her husband?
Personally, I have never heard of such a teaching. I have never heard of theologians who assert that the woman has an equal position with her husband’s and that the husband should obey his wife. On the contrary, there are some religious people who based on biblical teaching that man is the head of the woman, think that woman is inferior to man as a value. So they despise and treat them as servants. They understand that if the husband is the head of the woman it means that she does not have a head of her own, in the direct sense of the word and could not succeed without a man, even though reality shows that some women are better in managing family or business than some men. I remember one story of a married man who repented while in prison, and when he was released from the prison, he insisted that his wife, who in those 10 years of his imprisonment has set up a business, should let him conduct the business. His argument was that the Bible is right that he should be the head of all. As a result, after he took over, the business suffered.
The meaning of the word “head” in Greek
In fact, the word “head” used in 1 Corinthians 11 and Ephesians 5 is the Greek word “κεφαλη” means “head, chief, commander, of the highest rank”, meaning a person holding the highest position in an organization or team. The family is a body, an organization or a team that bears the headship of the husband, chief, leader, commander, to whom the last word belongs in decision making. Speaking of the position of the woman, “to obey” in Greek from Ephesians 5:21 is the verb “υποτασσόμενοι” and means “to be arranged under” or to listen to, in the sense of subject in obedience to a higher rank (it is a military term as in the word “head”). In Ephesians 5:21 Paul addresses the church made up of men and women and urges them to submit to one another in the fear of God. And in the next verse, the apostle specifies that in the family, the wife must submit to her husband.
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:21-24 )
The relationship between husband and wife must reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church. When husbands do not comply with the ordinances established by God, the image of the relationship between Christ and the Church is distorted.
The responsibility of the husband as the head of the family
It is not the husband’s duty to submit his wife. The husband must love his wife with the “agape” love, which is an unconditional love, meaning it does not depend on the behavior of his wife:
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. (Ephesians 5:24-29)
So the husband should love his wife and do good to her, regardless of how she behaves: it is not his duty to subject his wife. Moreover, the verb “rule over” in the Hebrew language used in Genesis 3:16 is “leading, giving a precise direction”:
To the woman He said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”
From this text we understand that the wife will have the desire to rule over her husband, but it should not be so: he will rule over her and give direction. This word is different from the word translated as “master” in Genesis 1:26 and 28. In the original Hebrew language in these verses, another word is used than that in Genesis 3:16. In Genesis 1:26, 28 another word is used which means “to subdue forcibly, stepping on something”. In other words, the man (husband and wife) had to subdue by force all creatures of the earth and master them, but it is not the same when it is spoken about the relationship between man and woman. In fact, in Genesis 3:16, the man is not commanded to rule over woman. The words of this verse are addressed to the woman and not the man. It is a curse uttered by God to woman as a consequence of her disobedience to God, this is a statement and not a command.
Moreover, the role established by God from the beginning for woman to be a helper for the man in the tasks that God gave him:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Now if we talk about a fit helper for the director, then this is the executive director and not the maid. I think you know what I mean…
In conclusion, we can say that one’s position is not necessarily determined by the position that the person holds.
Jesus’ value and position in relation to the Father
Jesus repeatedly says that He is one with the Father, and of the same value, but He obeys the Father because the Father is His head:
But 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. (1 Corinthians 11:3)
This does not mean that Jesus is inferior to the Father. His message has always been that He is equal with the Father:
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:18)
The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God. (John 10:33)
Moreover, the word “obey” used in Ephesians 5 about the relationship between wife and husband, is used in Luke 2:51 showing the relationship of Jesus with his parents:
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:51-52)
The fact that Jesus, as a child, was subject to His parents, does not mean that He was inferior to them, for we know that He was superior to His earthly parents: He is God.
The fact that the husband is the head of the wife does not mean she is inferior to him in value; but in the family, the husband is the leader and the final word will always be his. On the other hand, the fact that to God, the wife has the same value as the husband, does not mean she does not have to obey her husband, according to the order established by God.
The value of the woman in relation to the man
Here are some texts confirming that to God, the woman has the same value as the man:
“… for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
In conclusion: if you are a husband, do not despise your wife; and if you are a wife, obey your husband! Treat one another with love so you shall bear the image of the relationship between Christ and the Church, and you will have God’s blessing! Everything is temporary, except love!
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