Jesus opposed hierarchy amongst His disciples. He said that He is the head of the church. Our turning should be to God and Jesus, not to men or husbands (Eve’s mistake) – natural birth is of no consequence in the Lord –
You are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one leader, and you are all brethren. Mark 23:8
The greatest among you will be your servant. Matt. 23:11
To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God. John 1:12-13
Paul endorsed the teachings of Jesus
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. Gal. 3:26
Notice here that Paul is talking to both men and women and yet he says that all are called ‘Sons of God‘ through faith in Jesus. So ‘daughters’ become ‘sons’ just as ‘Gentiles’ become ‘Jews’.
The Church at Corinth wanted Paul to impose the traditions of men which elevated men as leaders – 1st Corinthians is a dialogue between the Church and Paul
1 Cor. 1:7 “Now for the matters you wrote about”
The church said in chapter 11-
|“For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.” 1 Cor 11: 8-9||“As the woman came from the man, even so is the man also by the woman; and all things are from God.” 1 Cor. 11:12|
|MAN MORE IMPORTANT BECAUSE WOMAN CAME FROM HIM||EVE CAME FROM ADAM – BUT CHRIST THE HEAD OF EVERY MAN CAME BY THE WOMAN|
In chapter 14 the church wished to silence women in church
|‘As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.
If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church’. 1 Cor. 14:34-35
|“What! Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?” If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge (perceive) that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. And if anyone ignores this, they should themselves be ignored. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, zealously prophesy! and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” 1 Cor. 14:36-39|
PAUL’S 2 QUESTIONS to the Church
1 – “Did the word of God originate with you?”
“In the beginning was the word…in Him was life” John 1:1-4
The word came out from Jesus – not the men wanting to silence women.
2 – “Are you the only ones it has reached?”
The light of Jesus reached women and men alike –
“To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13
Conclusion for Corinthians: The spirit had been poured out on men and women and all were prophesying. Certain members of the church thought that only men should prophesy and women should be silent as even the Law of the Land said. Paul reminded the church at Corinth that the word of God did not originate with men – it came to both men and women. He concludes the chapter by encouraging all to prophesy –“So, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” 1 Cor. 14:39 NIV
SITUATIONS OF THE FLESH
Yet Paul spoke of the husband as the head of the wife in Ephesians. The ignorant have twisted the words of Paul and extended the husband / wife relationship to apply to all men being the head of all women. In fact Paul was saying how to make the best out of situations of the flesh. Situations we are stuck in and can’t change, make the best of them for the sake of Christ.
Ephesians 5 and 6 describe three groups of people bound to others by non spiritual circumstances.
Those in a 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 slaves and children to parents but Paul says to “submit to one another” meaning everyone submits – Eph. 5:21.
SUBMISSION TO NON SPIRITUAL HEADS
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.
A BAD HUSBAND
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?”
THE UMBRELLA PICTURE
Those who extend Paul’s words to all men being the heads of all women sometimes show an umbrella picture with Christ at the top, followed by husbands, then wives and children at the bottom (leaving out the slaves of chapter 6)
But Paul was speaking of 4 situations.
One model was the SPIRITUAL situation with Christ as the Head of the entire church – the Bride made up of men and women, slaves and free, all equal.
The Other 3 were SITUATIONS OF THE FLESH – Men were never the spiritual leaders over women, but in a Roman world they were the head of the house. Paul is saying ‘make the best of a situation you are stuck in and can’t change’ –
Husband as the Head of the wife.
Parents over the children,
Masters over their slaves.
See diagram –