Gender Roles According to the Bible

By Anthony Barbato

First off, just because people have different roles doesn't mean they differ in worth. My drill might have cost me more money than the bits, but without the bits, the drill is completely useless. Simplistic comparison, yes, but it demonstrates my point to an extent. In Genesis 2:18 the Lord says, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." After He creates the women from Adam's rib (Genesis 2:21-22), Adam proclaims, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Genesis 2:23). We then read the familiar passage, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

God created what was suitable for man, not inferior to man. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that women are insignificant or unequal to men. So where does the misogyny come from? A misunderstanding of God's word, of course. A great example is 1 Peter 3:7 which reads, "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered."

A typical response is "Someone weaker? What does that mean? How dare Peter say that?!" But let's take a second here, it does not at all say anything about her being incapable of complex thought, wise decision making, or spiritual discernment. It simply says she is weaker. How? Well, the fact is men and women have different physical makeups. Men are naturally stronger, and from the beginning of time until now men have been the primary providers and protectors of their families. This even goes back to the curse where God tells Adam he will "toil" and labor to get sustenance from the earth (Genesis 3:17). As for the woman, aside from the pains of childbirth, Eve is told, "Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." What this means is that the woman will desire to rule over her husband, but instead he will rule over her (Genesis 4:7).

What's sad is that people spend so much time on that part and completely miss the "show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7). Not only is my wife spiritually equal to me, but if I don't want my prayers hindered, I am required to show her honor!

We live in a time now where people can be anything. If I wanted to become a woman and have manipulative surgery I not only could, but I would probably be heralded as a "hero" for standing up for my desire to change. Being a housewife is considered lackluster and empty of meaning. Our chemical and physical design has little to no significance to us. This gender travesty has caused so much confusion that people are now considered intolerant if they don't allow their young children to decide if they want to be a boy or girl. Just think, by telling my son that makeup is for girls I am "brainwashing" him and reinforcing gender stereotypes. Why does all this occur? Well, obviously because of sin (Genesis 8:21; 1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chronicles 6:36; Ezra 9:6; Job 9:2; 15:14; Psalm 14:1, 51:5, 53:1, 58:3, 143:2; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20, 9:3; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 3:17; 17:9; 22:21, 32:30; Micah 7:2; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19; Romans 3:10-18, 23; 7:18; 1 John 1:8)!

Another reason is that people don't see value in family anymore. To the culture, going to work is worth more than raising our children. If my wife got an important job it'd impress a lot more people than if she was a good mother and took care of the home. Now I'd like to note that my wife and I both work now, but in the past, we've alternated staying home while the other worked. We've each experienced being a stay-at-home parent, and we've each experienced being the one who works. Many women see no value in being a mother anymore, and men see no value in being good fathers. Society values a woman in a business suit who is never around and a father who's so emotionally distant from his children that he's unable to tell them he loves them. Of course work is important, as we need money to pay our bills, but my kids need a father and mother who lead them in God's truth and instruction more than a big house and expensive toys. Think of it like wedding rings. People spend thousands of dollars for them, but they're unwilling to sacrifice anything for their relationship. My wife and I don't have professional photos of an exquisite wedding, but in forty years we'll still have a loving and God-honoring marriage.

Back to the main point. Here's another section that causes confusion:
A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (See also 1 Corinthians 14:34)
First off, one thing you hear a lot about is the fact that Scripture prohibits women from being pastors. One thing you don't hear about is men complaining that they will never experience life forming inside of them! The fact is, men and women have different roles. The man is to exercise authority over the woman, his wife, but the woman is the one who creates life inside of her own body. I personally think that's pretty amazing. My beautiful children were made inside of their mother! She felt them growing and moving, the Lord masterfully fashioning them within her womb (Psalm 139:13). I will never experience that special connection and gift as a man.

Continuing on, is Paul saying that what happened in the Garden was all Eve's fault? Obviously not, as she didn't shove the fruit down Adam's throat (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21)! In fact, while she was first deceived, you know what Adam's response was? He blamed God! After confronting them, Adam gives the most human response ever, saying, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate" (Genesis 3:12). Kind of hilarious, right? Can you imagine in today's society someone saying, "It wasn't me, it was the woman's fault. The woman, I might add, that you gave me, God." The fall wasn't Eve's fault alone, and while she was the one deceived, Adam ate the fruit as well.

Another thing to point out is that just because a husband has spiritual authority over his wife, it doesn't mean he goes unchecked. Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 11:3, "But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ." While my wife is to submit to me, I am to submit to Christ. That also means that I will answer to God for how I lead my family. Not only this, but let's take a look at some verses that you never see together, although they follow after each other.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:23-24
We've all heard this before, right? Without a doubt it's been used sinfully by overbearing husbands, twisted just like every other Scripture to please our flesh (Psalm 56:5; Jeremiah 23:36; 2 Peter 3:16). Whether it's us or Satan (Genesis 3:1), God's words are sadly used for evil. This is why it's imperative we make sure we're "accurately handling the word of truth"' (2 Timothy 2:15). With that in mind, want to hear the section that immediately follows?
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33
Yes, my wife is to submit to me, but I am to give my life up for her. She is to me as the church is to Christ. What did Christ do for His church? He sacrificed Himself for her, and this is what the husband must do for his wife. I am to love her as I love my own body, cherishing and nourishing it. In short, I am to completely empty myself for her spiritual benefit. And as she submits to me, I am to submit to Christ in everything. I am in a leadership position to serve, not to be served. This is the example Christ set before us (Matthew 20:28).

Honestly, I could go on forever about how special my wife is to me, and how I continually fall short of God's command to me as a husband and father. Are women and men equal? In some ways we are, in some ways we are not. Spiritually, absolutely. Physically, obviously not. God has chosen distinct roles for us both that we may complement each other in a way that most glorifies Himself. If the world has a problem with that, they can take it up with their Creator when they see Him. Women may be fragile in some regards, but so are the things that are most precious to us, and that's how I feel about my wife (and my children, for that matter). What I have trouble doing, she does easily. When I am frustrated with our children, she can be comforting and calm. Sometimes I'm the iron fist, sometimes she is. But we work together for God's glory, each in distinct roles, but for one common goal.

Image Credit: Pexels; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Controversial-Issues  | Family-Life  | Jesus-Christ  | Personal-Relationships

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Published 7-3-17