Certain passages have been lifted from their context to elevate men as the spiritual leaders of women. Passages such as “the husband is the head of the wife” Eph 5:22 (explained below). This article is an extract from “One Father One Teacher One Head – Women in Worship” (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/alsowritten) which examines the context of these passages and concludes that Jesus is the ultimate spiritual head for both women and men. God’s intention has always been that we are all “One in Christ” Gal. 3:28. It is people who elevate roles in worship. In God’s eyes the righteous nameless women raising children in ancient Israel were just as important as the High Priest – the fact that a woman couldn’t be a priest did not mean the men were the leaders, more spiritual, or more important than the women who at times were leaders too. If we see through God’s eyes we will stop elevating men and elevate God and Jesus.
Extract from book:
EPHESIANS 5:23 – MARRIAGE ONLY
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Eph. 5:22-24
In this passage Paul doesn’t say that man is the head of woman, but the husband is the head of the wife. This is not applying to all men being the heads of all women, but is in the context of marriage only.
Ephesians 5 and 6 describe three groups of people bound to others by non spiritual circumstances.
Marriage relationship – “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” Eph. 5:31
Slaves bound to masters – “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh”. Eph. 6:5
Children and parents – Eph. 6:1
In all these situations people are bound to other people – Paul is saying – while you are in those situations to which you are bound – make the best of them – submit to the ones who rule over you.
All these situations are ‘according to the flesh’ – There is no suggestion that men should be the spiritual heads or leaders of women. The fact is, according to the flesh – men have ruled over women and husbands have ruled over their wives. In Ephesus at the time of Paul’s writing, the husband was the head of the wife under the Roman Law – Patria Potestas – The power of a Father and the power of a Husband. Paul is saying – you are bound by this – make the best of it – submit as to the Lord.
Paul uses these situations ‘of the flesh’ and turns them into parables of Christ and the Church, and says to ‘submit because of Christ’.
Those in a marriage relationship – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” Eph. 5:25.
Slaves bound to masters – “As bondservants of Christ” Eph. 6:6.
Children and parents – Children, obey your parents as you would the Lord, because this is right.” Eph. 6:1.
The theme of wives submitting to husbands continues throughout the New Testament – but nowhere does it say that man is the spiritual head of woman.
The theme of slaves submitting to masters continues throughout the New Testament, but nowhere does it say that masters are the spiritual heads of slaves.
Not only are wives to submit to husbands, servants to masters and children to parents, but Paul says to “submit to one another” meaning everyone submits – Eph. 5:21.
1 Peter 3:1 tells wives to submit to their unbelieving partners or ‘heads’ as the husband is referred to in the Ephesians passage.
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives”.
Submitting to ones husband does not mean or imply he is the spiritual head – it is an action to please Christ and even non believing husbands should be submitted to.
Clearly Ananias didn’t give Saphira good spiritual advice, and they were both struck dead. Logic says that Paul can’t be saying that our spiritual advice must come from our husbands when the husband gives bad advice.
Acts 5:1-3 “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?”