A recent comment to the post addressed my last post regarding Grudem’s response from his work on “Biblical Foundations of Manhood and Womanhood.” In this work Grudem gave ten reasons why Adam was head of the marriage BEFORE the fall; but as I’ve stated, Grudem confuses headship of the marriage with headship over creation—and merges creation authority with marriage authority (making Adam head of the marriage from Genesis 1). Still, though, if this is true, you have to explain why it is that God waits until Genesis 3 to tell Adam and Eve—and why He gives it as a punishment to Eve! The last response about this post, titled “Scripture to the Rescue!”, failed to give specific scriptural references to the issue of why Adam was the head of the marriage before the fall. Let this be a lesson to all those who respond to the blog to give references regarding their statements. I would like to see where I am BIBLICALLY wrong regarding this matter—so all posts should contain Scripture references.
Today’s post concerns these supposed “Scripture references” the blog commenter mentions (without giving specifics). Let’s look at passages regarding headship.
The first passage will be Ephesians 5:
22(AR) Wives,(AS) submit to your own husbands,(AT) as to the Lord. 23For(AU) the husband is the head of the wife even as(AV) Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is(AW) himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit(AX) in everything to their husbands.
25(AY) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and(AZ) gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by(BA) the washing of water(BB) with the word, 27so(BC) that he might present the church to himself in splendor,(BD) without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28In the same way(BE) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because(BF) we are members of his body. 31(BG) "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and(BH) the two shall become one flesh." 32This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33However,(BI) let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she(BJ) respects her husband.
First, in verse 22, the wife is told to SUBMIT to her husband. However, look at the analogy: “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Notice here that the emphasis is on the wife to honor and respect her husband, not on the husband to RULE over his wife. The emphasis is on submission even in Genesis 3:16, where God tells Eve that Adam “would rule over you.” The word for “rule over” in the Septuagint is “kurieuo,” meaning “to be lord.” It is fitting that the husband should be compared to Christ in the analogy—for it is consistent with Genesis 3. But there are NO OTHER REFERENCES to Adam’s headship in Genesis. Other references to Adam’s headship in Genesis are welcome. Feel free to respond to this post if you should find any references in Genesis that I haven’t noted.
Notice, though, that the rest of Scripture does not deal with the husband being “lord,” but with the woman “submitting.” Similarly, along with the Ephesians 5 analogy, the rest of Scripture concerns itself with the church submitting to Christ. This explains why Paul’s epistles, such as Philippians, deal with following Christ’s example among believers. Let’s look at Philippians chapter 2:
“3Do nothing from(F) rivalry or(G) conceit, but in(H) humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you(I) look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5(J) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6(K) who, though he was in(L) the form of God, did not count equality with God(M) a thing to be grasped, 7but(N) made himself nothing, taking the form of a(O) servant,[b](P) being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by(Q) becoming obedient to the point of death,(R) even death on a cross. 9(S) Therefore(T) God has(U) highly exalted him and bestowed on him(V) the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus(W) every knee should bow,(X) in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and(Y) every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is(Z) Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12Therefore, my beloved,(AA) as you have always(AB) obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for(AC) it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for(AD) his good pleasure.
Notice here that Paul tells them to look upon the interests of each other (rather than themselves). Then, in verse 5, he begins to show them how to do this: look at the example of Christ’s humility. But then, in verses 12 and 13, Paul tells them to “work out” their salvation, because God is at work in them, using them for His glory (“to will and work for his good pleasure”). Following the example of Christ is how the church would submit to Christ. Christ does not FORCE the church to submit; rather, as the Pauline Epistles show us, Christ desires that the church CHOOSE to submit. I’ve always heard it said that “God is a gentleman.” He doesn’t force Himself on you; but for those who choose Him, they get all of God’s goodness and blessings bestowed upon them.
One more point to be made about Ephesians 5: after the wives are told to submit to their husbands, Paul tells husbands to “love your wives.” It is interesting that in the current debate, the emphasis seems to be submission regarding the wife—while no emphasis is placed on the husband loving his wife.
Look at Colossians 3:19 (ESV):
“Husbands love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
These words mimic the words of Paul to the Ephesians in Eph. 5. When Paul mentions the husbands in Colossians, he tells them not to be harsh with their wives (too aggressive). But when he writes Ephesians, read what he tells the Ephesian men:
“25(AY) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and(AZ) gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by(BA) the washing of water(BB) with the word, 27so(BC) that he might present the church to himself in splendor,(BD) without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28In the same way(BE) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because(BF) we are members of his body.”
Paul tells husbands not to be harsh with their wives in Colossians, but goes into greater detail regarding the love of a husband for a wife in Ephesians 5. How could the husbands be gentle towards their wives? By loving them AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER! How else? To love their wives as much as they love their own bodies (if not more).
In verse 29 above, Paul gives an analogy of the wife as the “body” of the husband. If the wife is the husband’s body, he should love her and cherish her because to do so is to honor his own body (which makes sense). No one DELIBERATELY disrespects and violates their own body; therefore, it doesn’t make sense to disrespect and hurt your wife if your wife is your own body. Notice in Colossians 3 as well as in Ephesians 5, that Paul does not say, “HUSBANDS, RULE YOUR WIVES, AS CHRIST ALSO RULED THE CHURCH, AND REQUIRED SERVITUDE FROM HER.” The text focuses on husbands LOVING their wives, showing honor to their wives—not lording authority over them.
But someone is going to argue, “Hey, what about 1 Timothy 3?” I’ll cover that in my next post.