THE ROLES OF MEN AND WOMEN,

as outlined in the Bible.

                                                

There is pressure in the world today to treat men and women as equals in all the possible positions in life.

Is this the way God intended it to be?

Or, is it Satan - using human nature - causing both men and women to lose sight of their God given roles?


How does the Bible describe Men and Women?


[As explained in other articles on this Web Site, I use the Bible to explore topics by identifying themes - or common threads,  running throughout the Bible - rather than concentrating on specific verses,  that may, or may not, be as the original writer intended. Since Christ and the Apostles established the New Testament Church with just the Old Testament, I give the Old Testament more weight, but you must remember that both Testaments were each written for people living under different covenants and very different conditions].
Things in Common.
At the highest level of looking at the human race, men and women do have an equal footing, and a number of things in common.

 [All emphasis within quoted Scripture is mine.]

Gen 1:27 NLT " So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them."

As far as one head, two arms, two legs and a body are concerned, then men and women are the same, and have similar features as God the Father - our Creator.

Gen 5:1-2 NLT  "This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, He made them to be like Himself.  (2)  He created them male and female, and He blessed them and called them "human.""

The value of each life is the same. For instance, whoever intentionally kills another human - man or women - is to be put to death.

Num 35:30 NET.  "Whoever kills any person, the murderer must be put to death by the testimony of witnesses; but one witness cannot testify against any person to cause him to be put to death."

The end purpose of their life is the same, and both men and women have an equal opportunity to obtain eternal life.  

1Pe 3:7 NET.  "Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as the weaker partners and show them honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life. In this way nothing will hinder your prayers".
 
However, when it comes down to individual people doing day to day things, the situation is a lot different.

Birth.
Right from birth, the gender determined different requirements before God, under the Old Covenant.

Lev 12:2-5 NET.  "Tell the Israelites, 'When a woman produces offspring and bears a male child, she will be unclean seven days, as she is unclean during the days of her menstruation.  (3)  On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised.  (4)  Then she will remain thirty-three days in blood purity. She must not touch anything holy and she must not enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. 

(5)  If she bears a female child, she will be impure fourteen days as during her menstrual flow, and she will remain sixty-six days in blood purity.

We may not fully understand the "blood purity" God is speaking about, but we can clearly see that the lengths of time are double for a female child, than they are for a male child. They are not treated "as equals".

Vow Offering.
Lev 27:1-7 NET.  The LORD spoke to Moses:  (2)  "Speak to the Israelites and tell them, 'When a man makes a special votive offering based on the conversion value of persons to the LORD,  (3)  the conversion value of the male from twenty years old up to sixty years old is fifty shekels by the standard of the sanctuary shekel.  (4)  If the person is a female, the conversion value is thirty shekels.  (5)  If the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, the conversion value of the male is twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels.  (6)  If the person is one month old up to five years old, the conversion value of the male is five shekels of silver, and for the female the conversion value is three shekels of silver.  (7)  If the person is from sixty years old and older, if he is a male the conversion value is fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.

While we don't make these same offerings today, we can see that in God's mind there is a difference between the ages and there is a difference between the sexes.

Clothing.
Because men and women are different, he wants them to look different.

Deu 22:5 NET.  "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor should a man dress up in women's clothing, for anyone who does this is offensive to the LORD your God."

Unfortunately a lot of men (dressing as drag queens) have made a lot of money being "offensive to the Lord our God".

The ability to determine the sex of a person by sight, is further enhanced by their hair. Men are to have shortish hair and women are to have longish hair.

1Co 11:14-15 NET.  Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace for him,  (15)  but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

Since nature has been mentioned, I might point out that in the animal kingdom (except for a few species of birds and fish) it is usually easy to identify the male and the female. God as creator, for the most part, has made them look different - because they are different.

God's desire for men to have hair neither too short or too long is also found in,

Eze 44:20 NET.  " 'They [the priests] must not shave their heads nor let their hair grow long; they must only trim their heads."

Just as an aside, since Christ is our High Priest, He most certainly would not have had long hair.

Head Coverings.
1Co 11:4-5 NET.  Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered disgraces his head.  (5)  But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disgraces her head, for it is one and the same thing as having a shaved head.

We may want to argue about what sort of covering is being talked about, but it is very clear that the end result means that men do something that is the exact opposite to what the women are supposed to do. Again, they are not equal.


Positions of Leadership.
Only males could serve within the tabernacle and be priests. However, in the greater community, men were also to hold the positions of leadership.

Exo 18:25 NLT  "He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten."

The fact that a selection had to be made shows that not all men are equal either, and just being "male" does not give you the right to lead.  However, leaders and future leaders should be found within the males of the community.

Num 11:16-17 NLT  "Then the LORD said to Moses, "Gather before Me seventy men who are recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. Bring them to the Tabernacle to stand there with you.  (17)  I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.""

Making Vows.

Num 30:3-8 NET.  "If a young woman who is still living in her father's house makes a vow to the LORD or places herself under an obligation,  (4)  and her father hears of her vow or the obligation to which she has pledged herself, and her father remains silent about her, then all her vows will stand, and every obligation to which she has pledged herself will stand.  (5)  But if her father overrules her when he hears about it, then none of her vows or her obligations which she has pledged for herself will stand. And the LORD will release her from it, because her father overruled her.  (6)  "And if she marries a husband while under a vow, or she uttered anything impulsively by which she has pledged herself,  (7)  and her husband hears about it, but remains silent about her when he hears about it, then her vows will stand and her obligations which she has pledged for herself will stand.  (8)  But if when her husband hears it he overrules her, then he will nullify the vow she has taken, and whatever she uttered impulsively which she has pledged for herself. And the LORD will release her from it."

Obviously God sees the making of a vow by a female in a different light to a father or a husband.


The Roles of Men and Women are Different.

As we can see from the Scriptures we have already read, God never gave instructions that men and women are to be equal in all things.

So people today, who demand "equality" between the sexes, are getting into an area that God never intended. An extreme example of people doing what they wanted and ignoring the wishes of God, was just before Noah's flood. The amount of sin in the world got so bad that God decided to eliminate all life except for eight people, and the animals in the ark

Gen 6:5-6 NET.  "But the LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil all the time.  (6)  The LORD regretted that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was highly offended."

Using our human reasoning instead of obeying God's instructions, offends God. Mankind did it before Noah's flood, and we are heading in the same direction if we push on with our human agenda and ignore the wishes of God (Mat 24:37).

If we are prepared to let the Scriptures be our guide, we will see that God has always intended for men and women to have a common destiny, but a different path to follow in order to achieve that goal.  As I see it, by people trying to put women into the roles that are meant for men, it will weaken the family structure, and in turn weaken the nation as a whole.

Men and Women are Physically Different.

There are plenty of books around that go into the differences that one's sex makes to the human body, so I won't go into the details here. In general, the tougher male body is designed for physical work, and the softer female body is designed to produce and nurture children.

Men and Women are Mentally  Different.

I have not read the book, but I like the title "Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus". We are so different in the way we think that - at times - it is possible to believe that we are from different planets.

Problems.

Men are quick to be challenged by a problem, and soon start coming up with suggestions on how to solve them.

Women like to talk about their problems for a long time first, and can quickly get upset if a man tells them how to solve their problem - unless specifically  asked to do so.

Conversation.

Drop into a group of men at a BBQ and you may find the discussion is about the weather or sport, but it can also be about world conditions, the country's leaders, or what needs to be done to "fix" a problem. In general, the country and the world.

My experiences with groups of women at a BBQ has been that they are talking about clothes, babies, food, problems with their husbands, problems with other women, or social events. In general, the home and the neighborhood.

Thought processes.

It is easy for men to fall into a "tunnel vision" approach to life. They see something that needs to be done, and if they are not careful, turn it into a project that consumes their thoughts. It is natural (but not necessarily right) for a man to get so engrossed with his "project" that he will ignore the needs of others around him. How many men have spent the prime of their life "getting ahead" in their job, only to find years later that his wife and family have become "strangers".

Women, on the other hand, can carry a child on their hip, have the washing machine going, be cooking a meal and working out what needs to go on the shopping list, all at the same time. Depending on how "snowed under" they are, they may lose sight of why they are doing all these things, but they can certainly keep track of all the things needed to keep a home running.

Differences are not wrong - just differences. 
The three examples of differences I mentioned above, does not mean that one is right and the other is wrong.  Instead it highlights the fact that men and women were created by God to have different thought processes, and different ways of looking at things, which are more suited to their particular role.

I own a car and an old Fordson tractor, and I sometimes use them to help illustrate the point above. The car and tractor have many things in common - a water cooled engine up the front with the power coming through the gearbox to the back wheels. While I could drive the tractor along the highway, and I could pull a small plough with the car, they are much more efficient when the are used for what they are designed for.

While it is true that some men have made good "nannies" and some women have been  a leader of a country - and I agree there may be situations at times when men and women have to step outside their traditional roles - but for the most part, men and women perform the best when they fulfill the roles God intended. The tractor does a great job ploughing and the car moves people along a highway very nicely. Why try to change that?

However, let me state it again, lest people try to stereotype men and women.

The Bible - as I have tried to bring out in this article - has many instructions for men that are different from the instructions to the women. We should study and understand those instructions. However, sometimes time and chance or personality, will mean that we take a different path for a while. Jesus started out - in the eyes of the world - as an illegitimate child. King David started out as a shepherd boy. Esther won a beauty pageant, and after a successful "one night stand" with the king, went on to save the Jewish race. Deborah lived in a time of no obvious male leaders, and God inspired her to step in to take up the slack.

The point I am trying to make is - try and live by the Biblical role model, but do not be confined by it. Your situation may be unique, so exploit it to the full if you have the opportunity. . 


What are Men and Women suited for ?
I understand that not all are going to agree with what follows, but we have to start somewhere if we are going to try and pin down the God given roles of men and women. The only document God has used to communicate with mankind in general is the Bible. However, it was not written in English, so at times we can lose some of the clarity of the original through it's translation. Then, because of the need for copies to be made by hand down through the centuries, some accidental and perhaps even deliberate errors have been added to the mix.

That said - it is still the only document we have that quotes the words spoken by our Creator to help us see the roles we are best suited for. We need to look at the book in total, rather than getting bogged down with just one or two verses, which may, or may not, reflect the intentions of the original author.


Men.

We have already read Scriptures that show that God expects men to be leaders in the community and of the country  (Ex 18:25, Num 11:16-17). We will now look at some verses that show that men are to also take the lead in the marriage and in the home.

1Co 11:3 NET. " But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ."

Col 3:18 NET.  "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."

Eph 5:22-25 NET.  "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord,  (23)  because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church — he himself being the savior of the body.  (24)  But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  (25)  Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her".

Men, if they are properly trained and are converted, are better suited to this position as they tend to take a long term view of things. They also have the ability to focus on what is important, and not get sidetracked by trivia. Their masculine strength should help them to make the difficult decisions - always after input from all the family where practical, and open discussion.

Men who have not been taught how to deal with people with love, compassion and respect, have brought a great deal of disgrace on men in general. Others are quick to jump on this negative aspect displayed by undisciplined men, and put all men into the same boat. If the human mind wants excuses it can find them almost anywhere. If you are genuine in your search of the truth, then you have to learn to make a distinction  between males who have had the right training and are doing things right, and males who are not living up to the standard expected by God.

The position of "leader" of the home, is balanced with plenty of instruction of how to go about fulfilling this position.

Eph 5:25 NET.  "Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her"

Eph 5:28 NET. " In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."

Eph 5:33 NET. "Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Col 3:19 NET.  "Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them."

1Pe 3:7 NET.  "Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as the weaker partners and show them honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life. In this way nothing will hinder your prayers."

The Greek of the New Testament has at least eight words than can be translated as "love". For instance, there is the love we have for our children, the love we have for a friend, and the love we have for God. The love that husbands are told to have for their wives, is the same type of love (G25) we are to have for God. It is the love we have when it is the right thing to do - to love in a moral sense. The love a husband has for his wife should have nothing to do with the "performance" of the wife. It should be constant and unconditional.

Over the years, men have used the Bible to give them "extra" authority over women. They have taken the position of leadership to the extreme, and ignored all the instructions that have been given about loving your wife and family, and only treating others as you yourself would like to be treated. Just because some/many men get it wrong, is no excuse for women to also get it wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right.

A point about physical abuse.

Let me try to make it as clear as possible.

A man should NEVER lay a hand on a woman in anger.

If a woman "attacks" a man in a physical way, men you have two options - again as I see it.

  1. Cover your eyes so that her finger nails do not accidentally hurt your eyes, and stand there and let her vent her anger.
  2. As Dr Phil advises, if you can't do that, run down the street and hide in the bushes.
But never, never, use ANY excuse to lay a hand on a woman.
 

Men as Leaders Should Lead.

While the world at large has zeroed in on Eve eating the forbidden fruit, I believe that Adam has to share the blame as well. Adam was not deceived (1 Tim 2:14) and therefore could have stepped in and stopped Eve - he was right there with her (Gen 3:6).  Because Adam was not willing to exercise his leadership position, he failed Eve, and in turn the whole human race to follow him.

It has been my experience as we start this third millennium after Jesus's birth, that if you challenge men about their religious beliefs, their overwhelming response is to ignore you. They just stop communicating. They are dealing with something that makes them feel uncomfortable, so they hide behind a wall of silence.

This is, as I see it now, totally against the God given role of men as leaders.

Men - real Godly men - must push themselves to "speak into darkness". Go where they might feel uncomfortable, but go anyway, because it is the right thing to do. Address any areas where things don't look right. You may not have all the answers, but go there regardless, and have the faith that God will help when you have gone as far as humanly possible.

Stand up for what you believe. If you can't discuss your religious beliefs, then it could be because your religious beliefs are probably not worth discussing. Sure, you are not going to convince everyone that you are right, but at least be willing to discuss ALL matters - whether you feel comfortable or not. If you don't know about something, make it your job to find out. For more about moving out of your comfort zone,  the book, "The Silence of Adam" by  Larry Crabb, gives a good insight into this principle.

If you pick up the story of Amnon raping his sister Tamar in 2 Sam 13, and then follow it through, you will begin to get some idea of what can happen when men fail to take action. Two men were angry about the rape, but neither took any corrective action at the time. Amnon was not disciplined, and Tamar did not have her situation addressed. It escalated to murder and then finally to rebellion and treason.

It is so easy for men to "look the other way" - but so wrong.


The Ship Goes Where Men Steer It.

With the benefit of hind-sight, as I see it, men are to take the overview of the family, the community and the nation.

All are to be run according to God's principles. If something is not right, then it is the responsibility  of the head of the household to get involved, or pass their concern further up the chain of responsibility, or put up their hand for help.

While the children in the family will initially get most of their instruction from their mother - as they will be spending most of their time with them - the father still needs to be involved. This involvement should start even before the child is conceived.  A child should be conceived because it is wanted, and the support structure needed to give it a good start in life is in place. In other words, it can be looked after and nurtured without undue stress on the family. That said, there will always be some stress involved in having a baby to care for.

Initially the baby needs to feel that the situation around it is stable and under control. There is a "leader" in charge who can keep the ship moving in the right direction. Long before the baby comes along, there needs to be in place a way of resolving family disputes that does not include shouting or using abusive words. Right from the start, newlyweds need to practice the art of resolving disputes by just sticking to the relevant facts, and not get involved in "character assassination", or dredging up past "sins", or shouting.  Each member of the family needs to be taught to treat each other member of the family with respect. This can include saying  "excuse me" when interrupting, knock on doors before entering and wait to be asked  to enter, and not using things belonging to others without permission, and so on.  Doing these sort of things to bring peace to the family situation, can only be maintained when the "head of Household" is setting the standard.

If the fathers are yelling, throwing things, slamming doors, having disguised temper tantrums  (and sometimes not all that well disguised), and fits of anger, or turning to "something" for "escape", then they should consider themselves as failing to reach the standard God expects the "Head of Household" to achieve.

As the children are growing up, the father should be involved in exposing them to many different situations, such as theater, orchestras, clean live-entertainment, sports, museums, outdoor activities, social occasions, and so on. This will help the child to have confidence in all social situations. At the same time, children need to be taught that not everything you see on Television, or in the Movies, is true. Many people are "made up" and therefore will look different in real life. Stunt men make a living out of faking events. Children need to know that you can't tell (without some understanding of the process) the difference between  what is real, and what is computer generated

As well, the child needs to be taught by the father about the many different types of people they may run into in life. They should be taught to expect to run into people who are honest - and people who are dishonest. People who may see them as a sex object, which means they need to know about homosexuals and how they operate, if they are boys. The girls need to know that a male of any age or family position, has the potential to sexually abuse them. They need to know that there are con artists, thieves, and people just looking for an excuse to pick a fight.   The list goes on, but the better the father can equip their children with what to lookout for in life, the better they will handle it when they confront such people, or better still, avoid such people/situations in the first place.

I think most of would agree that father and sons need to bond and do things together - watching Dad handle different situations or problems is great training for the sons. However, it is very important that the father bonds with the daughters too. Teenage girls crave male attention, and the one giving them hugs, attention and love, that early in their life, should be their Dad. If this void is not filled, then the daughters will be tempted to grab hold of the first male that shows them the slightest attention.

How well the men of the world can steer the ship, will affect the current generation and will have an affect on generations to come.

The Greatest Role of all for Men.

Mal 4:6 NET.  "He will encourage fathers and their children to return to me, so that I will not come and strike the earth with judgment."

Like it or not, if men accept their God given role of being head of the family, then they must also accept that the weight of responsibility for getting things right, also rests on their shoulders.

In my view, there can be no greater contribution to the child, the family, and all society, than bringing a child up having a relationship with God, and having a deep respect for His laws and standards. Every child needs to learn off by heart, at least a simple form of the Ten Commandments. They need to be taught to analyze situations, so that they treat others the way they would like to be treated if they were in their position.

A child needs to be taught to respect the position certain people hold (parent, teacher, policeman, country leader, and so on) regardless of the standard of the person currently in such a position. This helps to stop the human tendency to be good for people you like, and have no respect for those you don't like. If the male of the household can get the children to respect the "office" held by other people, then there is less chance of shame being brought on the family by rebellion against those in authority.

As well, a child needs to be taught to look after and maintain everything it owns, and to look after the property of others. This should start at an early age, by children being taught that you don't touch things in shops unless you genuinely intend to buy it (and have the money to do so). If the child owns too much, then they need to be taught to share their goods with others, or pass it on to Op Shops so that other people can have the benefit of owning it.

A male child needs to be taught that touching any part of a female body is off-limits until they get married. Obviously holding hands to cross a road, and kissing parents, Aunts and Grandmothers on the cheek, are exceptions - as are medical emergencies. In my day, it was generally believed that if the actual sex act didn't take place, then everything else was "OK", but our children need to be taught better.  Using the principle from Mat 5:28, it is clear that any touching of a female body in a way that should be reserved for within marriage, breaks the seventh Commandment.

A female child needs to be taught that no one - until her husband comes along - has the right to touch her body, and she should make that very clear to any male who suggests otherwise. Again, medical requirements may be one of the exceptions.

While good and ongoing education about sex needs to be given while the children are at home, they should also be taught to avoid sexually explicit material, and to never be in a location with the opposite sex where temptation could be a problem.  1 Cor 6:18.  If you find you could be caught up in a situation where you are alone with a member of the opposite sex, either find a way out of the situation, or ask someone to be with you.

Men - if we let down on turning the hearts of our children towards God, then we must accept some responsibility when God punishes the earth (Mal 4:6).



Women.

When the apostle Paul was giving some last minute advice to Timothy, he gave us a good summary of what life for younger and older women is all about.

Tit 2:2-6 NET.  "Older men are to be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.  (3)  Older women likewise are to exhibit behavior fitting for those who are holy, not slandering, not slaves to excessive drinking, but teaching what is good.  (4)  In this way they will train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children,  (5)  to be self-controlled, pure, fulfilling their duties at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the message of God may not be discredited.  (6)  Encourage younger men likewise to be self-controlled,"

OK. Let's examine some of these statements in this brief summary.

First up, young men and young women are to have self control. This is not easy, but absolutely essential if you are to obey the apostle Paul's command to "flee fornication". Any of you reading this and who had sex before marriage, should understand that you did not have self control as a young person, and you have gone against God's instructions. On repentance, God can forgive, but you will have to live with the damage that may have already been done.

Second, older men and women are expected by God to set a high standard - in moral values - for the younger generation to look up to. Part of the job of the older men and women is to teach the younger generation how to avoid the mistakes they have made, and give them instruction so they know how to handle the situations they will encounter as they grow up.

However, the main focus, the "meat", of Paul's instruction,  is giving women a glimpse of what their role is in life.

    1.    To live "subject to their own husbands".
    2.    To love [nurture and support] their husbands.
    3.    Love their children.
    4.    Fulfill their duties in the home.
    5.    Set a high standard as a Christian.


What has gone wrong?

For just a moment, I am going to lay aside my usual method of looking at the Bible as a whole (themes) and zero in on just one verse. It has nothing to do with defining the roles of men and women, but I feel it goes a long way in explaining why the situation in the world today is moving away from what God intended. I have quoted the verse from the NET Bible (the notes given in the "First Edition" explain their reasons) because I think they have done a better job in translating this particular verse, than those who follow the traditional KJV, and most other translations.

Remember, this verse is part of what God is telling Satan, Adam and Eve about the consequences of their sin in eating the forbidden fruit.

Gen 3:16 NET.  To the woman he said,
    "I will greatly increase your labor pains;
    with pain you will give birth to children.
    You will want to control your husband,
    but he will [want to] dominate you."

In my short journey through life, I have bumped into many marriages where there is almost constant friction between the husband and wife about who is "right". The worst cases seem to be with European cultures, but Western nations can have the problem too. For one family who lived nearby, the "fight" often started in the morning and continued on and off all day, and sometimes descending into screaming sessions that could be heard a block away.

Most definitely , the wife did not want to live "subject to her own husband". Her consuming passion was to belittle the husband in any way she could. Whenever the husband made a decision, she would start coming up with reasons as to why it was wrong. The husband had only a small amount of religious training, but it was enough for him to know that he should be respected as the "head of household". The last sentence of Gen 3:6 was lived out in "Living Technicolor" - complete with sound-track.

I think this verse and example highlights what has gone wrong.

When women walk away from their God given role, they usually revert to their basic human nature, and start to want to take over from the men. Men who don't live up to their God given role of being loving leaders only adds fuel to the fire.

To put it another way, women who want to promote their sex to positions of leadership, or want "equality" with the male sex, are demonstrating their lack of knowledge of what their God given role in life is all about.  A big part of the problem - as I see it - is that too many women (and men) are worshiping the god of mammon. They have been deluded into thinking that their "worth" to God, humanity and society is determined by the money they earn. Instead, I would guess, that God is much more concerned about how much character they instill into their children before they get to age 12. Which brings up the point - women already have enough to do, so they should not be pressured into competing in the work-place, for more of what the god of mammon has to offer.


Who is doing the pushing?


While there have been - and still are in some places of the world - many examples of men unjustly and unfairly trying to suppress women in the society, it is rare to hear men say that they should stand aside and let the women take over.  We do hear it today within Politics, but that is more about appealing to 50+% of the voters, than a well thought out plan to change the God given roles of men and women.

So it seems to me that the push for "equality" - in some cases "superiority"  - is coming from the women of the world.


What does it take to be a woman?

What I want to try and do now, is show that being a woman, wife and mother is a full time job, without trying to take over from the men as well.

Have you ever noticed in the Bible, how many times the type of rule a king achieved in his lifetime, is associated with his mother. I'll list some of the verses - and edit them so the important facts fit on one line.

1Ki 14:21-22 NET.  Rehoboam ... mother Naamah...  did evil in the sight of the LORD. 

1Ki 15:1-3 NET. Jeroboam ...  mother was Maacah ... wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD,

1Ki 22:42-43 NET. Jehoshaphat ...  mother was Azubah ... [did] what the LORD approved. 

2Ki 8:26-27 NET.  Ahaziah ... mother was Athaliah ... did evil in the sight of the LORD,

2Ki 12:1-2 NET.   Jehoash ...  mother was Zibiah ... did what the LORD approved,

2Ki 14:1-3 NET.  Joash ... mother was Jehoaddan ...  He did what the LORD approved,

2Ki 15:1-3 NET.   Azariah ... mother's name was Jecholiah ... did what the LORD approved,

2Ki 15:32-34 NET. Jotham ... mother was Jerusha did what the LORD approved,

2Ki 18:1-3 NET.  Hezekiah ... mother was Abi...  He did what the LORD approved,

2Ki 21:1-2 NET.  Manasseh ... mother was Hephzibah ... He did evil in the sight of the LORD

2Ki 21:19-20 NET.  Amon ... mother was Meshullemeth ...  did evil in the sight of the LORD,

2Ki 22:1-2 NET.  Josiah ... mother was Jedidah ... He did what the LORD approved

2Ki 23:31-32 NET.  Jehoahaz ... mother was Hamutal ... He did evil in the sight of the LORD

2Ki 23:36-37 NET.  Jehoiakim ... mother was Zebidah ... He did evil in the sight of the LORD

2Ki 24:8-9 NET.  Jehoiachin ... mother was Nehushta ... He did evil in the sight of the LORD

2Ki 24:18-19 NET.  Zedekiah ... mother was Hamutal ... He did evil in the sight of the LORD


I can imagine people saying that the mother is mentioned just so that we know who the king's parents are, but I think God has inspired it to be written this way to get across another point.

It has been said that a child's outlook on life is reasonably well established by the time they are twelve or thirteen. During those formative twelve or thirteen years, the parent having the most influence in the child's life is the mother. I don't think it is any coincidence that the mother is coupled with the final performance of the king (man). This is the certainly the case in the following verses.

2Ch 22:2-3 NET.  Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king and he reigned for one year in Jerusalem. His mother was Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri.  (3)  He followed in the footsteps of Ahab's dynasty, for his mother gave him evil advice.


Future leaders are formed by women.


The influence a mother has over her child, allows her to make or break the next generation. If the child is female, then the mother should instill within her a desire to bring up her own children in the next generation so they are mature, well balanced, and capable of serving God and their fellow man. If the child is male, then the mother should instill a confidence that comes from knowing God, and knowing the role God intends men to follow. The future leaders of the home, corporations, or the country, are made before the child is 13 years old.

As I see it, to abandon a child for many hours a day to whomever happens to be rostered on at childcare, is not going to get the same results as doing the training yourself.



Titus 2:3-5

To give some idea of just how important and all encompassing the role of a women is, it might be helpful if we go through the points the Apostle Paul gave in Titus 2:3-5

A General Point.

Most of what I will write will be directed to married women, since they are the majority. However, the principles still apply to single women. While you may not have children of your own, you still need to know how to support and help those who do, and those of your extended family. Aunts can have a big impact on children. So many of the points apply whether you have children or not.

1.    Subject to their own husbands.

When it comes to the crunch, someone has to make the final decision. God has decreed that the husband should pick up that responsibility.

Mothers need to train their daughters so that they can analyse possible future husbands as to how much character (self-control) they have. If you are going to "be subject" to a man, then you want it to be someone you can look up to and respect. Of course, mothers should train their male children so that when they grow up any woman would be happy to have him for a husband.

The Greek word translated "subject" is G5293 in Strongs and means "to subordinate; submit self unto".

It is very important that everyone understands that these instructions are to the woman, and she is the one to make the decision to "submit".  The Bible gives no power to the male to force his wife to submit.  Men, if your wife chooses not to submit, then you have to accept it and just do the best you can. You won't be the first man to live through a marriage under such conditions. There are still many other areas where the marriage can produce good fruit.

Being willing to accept  that the husband has the final say in all major decisions, in no way should be taken that the wife becomes a "door-mat" for the husband to walk over. The woman should always see God as the higher authority (Acts 5:29).  If the husband has certain wishes that do not conflict with God's laws, then try to comply. However, your spiritual connection with your God is yours alone, and no husband should try to interfere with that.

1Co 7:13-14 KJV  "And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.  (14)  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy."

Obviously, God expects at times, that husband and wife will have different religious persuasions. Just one of a couple believing in God will give a great deal of help to the children.  

It greatly helps if you can marry within your race and according to your social status and religion. Having those three things in common does stop some stresses building up later in life. This is not being "racist" or being a snob - just using common sense. People from different races do think differently about certain things, just as people do from different religions. Ten or twenty years into a marriage, there are going to be enough stresses about money (or lack of it) and children and so on, without adding to it all by marrying into a family that has little in common with your background. I think this is one of the reasons why "arranged" marriages often do so well - the parents have made sure that the couple have much in common to start with.  

In selecting a future mate, you also need to show love towards any future children.  Talk to children from mixed race marriages, and you will often find that they are upset about not belonging to either race.  Putting them in "no-man's land" is not showing love.  Also some medical conditions make it wise for certain people not to marry.  True love will put the welfare of others before their own desires.

While God's law prohibits any sexual activity before marriage, there is another good reason to keep the emotion of sexual attraction out of the decision process.  After accepting Christ's sacrifice and turning with repentance to our Father, marriage is the next most important decision we will make in life, and something we will have to live with for the rest of our life. We need a clear head that is unfettered by the emotion of sexual attraction as we approach this second most important turning point in life.

Of course, as two people date and spend time with each other, thoughts of future sexual experiences will come to mind - so the big questions need to be asked upfront. I once saw Steve Harvey promoting his book on TV. The book was called "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man", and the point he was making is that women need to ask (with lady-like tact) some pointed questions within the first few hours of meeting a man who has marriage potential. I think there is merit to what he was saying, and I think there are useful questions that should be asked and answered up front. What is his goal in life? Does he save some, or waste, his disposable income? Did he have a dysfunctional childhood? What does he understand about the Bible? How much does he care about other people? How does he treat animals (a good indicator of how he will treat people)? And so on.

Men who know where they are going in life will enjoy talking to other people about such personal details. Men who falter in their answers, or who begin to attack with such comments as "you are being too pushy" - indicate that they are not ready to be marriage material. If you can see serious flaws in a man, do not be trapped into thinking that somehow it will all "go away" when you are married - it won't. Only people can change themselves - you can not change others - and especially if they are "happy with" or "resigned to" their situation.

At this point, I should make a comment to the single males reading this. If ever you are fortunate to date a woman who has the wisdom to ask "character revealing" questions up front, then you need to have your very truthful answers ready.



2.    Love your Husband.

Back in Genesis we find out why women were created.

Gen 2:18 NET.  The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him."

This aspect of why women were created is so easily overlooked by those who want "equality" with men. Women weren't created to be in charge of the world - that position was already taken by Adam (1 Tim 2:13). They were created to support the man who was already in charge.

At this point I want to interject a thought that is not promoted in most Bibles that I  know of. Understanding the conditions that were extant in the world when the original English Bibles were translated may help to explain why I think the original has been understated. Lets first look at Gen 2:20 NET.  "So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam no companion who corresponded to him was found."  If you look up the words that NET have translated "companion who corresponds", you can see that it could also have been translated as "an aid who is his counterpart". Try and imagine the scene.  God has just made male and female animals, birds, and so on. They needed to multiply to populate the earth.  So, in the animal kingdom, there may well have been a lot of sexual activity going on.  But Adam did not have a partner to have sex with.
 
1Co 11:8-9 NET.  "For man did not come from woman, but woman from man.  (9)  Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for man."  

There are  many movies, video clips, magazines, posters and so on that promote the sexual side of a woman - what they don't promote is that a sexual woman has been created by God for just one man - her husband.

Women who understand this usually do better in life. Women who fight their God given role usually end up with a chip on their shoulder and no men of significance in  their life. The vacuum this causes, often temps women to want to take over from the men.

But it will never work to their ultimate satisfaction, because it goes against what God intended.

Women need to understand that the only  woman a husband can legally  (before God) have sex with is his wife. And men need to understand that the only person his wife can have sex with is himself. Keeping sex out of the struggle for "equality" is very important, as 1Co 7:3-5 NET explains.  "A husband should give to his wife her sexual rights, and likewise a wife to her husband.  (4)  It is not the wife who has the rights to her own body, but the husband. In the same way, it is not the husband who has the rights to his own body, but the wife.  (5)  Do not deprive each other, except by mutual agreement for a specified time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then resume your relationship, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

For the first years of a marriage there will be a week of every month when sexual relations can not take place. Lev 15:19 NET.  " 'When a woman has a discharge and her discharge is blood from her body, she is to be in her menstruation seven days, and anyone who touches her [in that area] will be unclean until evening".  Eze 18:6 NET.  ... does not have sexual relations with a woman during her period". However this is good training for future times when for other reasons a husband and wife can not enjoy sex. It may be sickness, or an accident, or old age, or some other physical impairment. A good cuddle will help to tied things over.

The important thing is that sex or naked hugs should never be "off limits" because of "limitations" imposed on the spouse. To put it another way, the "Battle of the Sexes" - or any other battle for that matter - should never be brought into the bedroom. Use what God created to be enjoyed within marriage. While every woman mostly wants sex to be a "seeing stars" event every time, the reality is that sometimes it can be used for relief of tension. Here again, men and women are different. Women often see sex as "the cream on top" after a successful day, while men can still need sex after a disastrous day. Finding a fair balance between the two is what makes a good marriage even better.


3.    Love your children.

First up, we need to keep in mind what the purpose is for having children.

God is creating a family. The end result He is looking for, are spirit beings with perfect character, enjoying life with him in the Kingdom. The process of creating God's family has three main parts, as outlined by Christ in  John 3.

Joh 3:6 NLT  "Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life."

Joh 3:5 NLT  "Jesus replied, "I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit."

 
The process of becoming a spirit being in the Kingdom of God requires our physical (or blood) birth, then our birth through the water (baptism), and finally our birth through the Spirit (resurrection). In other words, to go from nothing to being a spirit being in the God family, requires three phases or three "births".

As parents, we are very much involved with the first one - the birth of our children. We can help prepare them for their second birth - birth by water - but it has to be their decision, but the third one - birth by the Spirit - is completely out of our hands. The point I am trying to make is that any children we produce, really belong to God - but He gives us the chance to be part of the initial process.

Isa 1:2-4 NLT  Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the LORD says: "The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against Me.  (3)  Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master's care—but Israel doesn't know its Master. My people don't recognize My care for them."  (4)  Oh, what a sinful nation they are—loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him.

Isa 45:11 NLT  This is what the LORD says—the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: "Do you question what I do for My children? Do you give Me orders about the work of My hands?

Eze 16:20 NET.  " 'You took your sons and your daughters whom you bore to me and you sacrificed them as food for the idols to eat. ... ,"

So we should see our children as only being on loan to us.

They are not our possessions, and we should not try to "tie them to our apron strings". Enjoy them, train them, feed them, clothe them, love them - but see it all as a service to God.


4.    Fulfill their duties in the home.    

This topic covers so much ground, there is no way I can do it justice as point No. 4.

I will try to put it in point form - but each point needs further explanation. Maybe at a later time I can try to do just that.

The list goes on, but you should get the idea that a women's influence over a home covers many different aspects. Just "looking good" and expecting everything else to just "happen" does not cut it.


5.    Set a high standard as a Christian.  

This can only be if the Ten Commandments are obeyed along with all they imply.

No sex - not even the thought of it (Mat 5:28) - outside of marriage.
                          (Breaks the 7th Commandment).
No smoking.    (Breaks the 2nd Commandment),
No gambling.   (Breaks the 10th Commandment).   
No gossip.       (Breaks the 9th Commandment).

1Ti 5:13-14 NET.  And besides that, going around from house to house they learn to be lazy, and they are not only lazy, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things they should not.  (14)  So I want younger women to marry, raise children, and manage a household, in order to give the adversary no opportunity to vilify us.

No idle  or unsavory talk.

No dressing to entice the looks of men, other than your husband, and then in private. If a man looks at you with lust, then he has already broken the 7th commandment (Mat 5:28), and if you encouraged it by dressing in a "sexual" manner, you would  have to share some of the sin. This does not mean that women have to be "dowdy" in their dress, just that they should not draw attention to the sexual parts of the female body. The clothing and colours can promote your personality, and certainly should look feminine.

1Pe 3:1-6 NET.  "In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then, even if some are disobedient to the word, they will be won over without a word by the way you live,  (2)  when they see your pure and reverent conduct.  (3)  Let your beauty not be external — the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes — (4)  but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God's sight.  (5)  For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands,  (6)  like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so."

No make-up that gives a false impression of what you look like (which breaks the spirit of the ninth commandment).

1Ti 2:9-10 NET.1Ti 2:9 NET.  Likewise the women are to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control. Their adornment must not be with braided hair and gold or pearls or expensive clothing,  10)  but with good deeds, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God.

Actively engaged in promoting God's laws and way of live.

Psa 68:11 NET.  "The Lord speaks;
    many, many women spread the good news."



It is a full-time job.  

By now, we should be able to see that being a woman - and especially a wife and mother - is a full time job. It requires a well rounded education, and an ability to search out information. To do the job properly leaves no time to fight the men for their position.

To put it another way. Women were created to be a help-mate to a man.  How you go about supporting the man in your life, tells Christ a lot about how you will go about supporting Him in the Kingdom. Your position in the Kingdom of God - your reward - is tied in to how well you understand - and then fulfill - your God given role of being a woman.

The World has it Wrong.

The other day on ABC radio, the host of the morning show was "complaining" about the fact that more men than women were on the honours list for the Queen's Birthday in Australia. It is unlikely that any man has held a position worthy of praise, or been able to do a good service for the community, without the help and support of his wife. The fact is - men achieve in life because of the help they get from their wives. Christ confirmed for us, that when a man and a women marry, they become one. Therefore the world should honour the couple, not just the man. Instead of the award going to Mr. Smith or Jack Smith, it should go to Mr and Mrs Jack Smith, or Jack and Jill Smith. This would stop a lot of the gender analysis of lists of who gets what, or does this or that.

Most women who rise to the top in some endeavor, need the support of a loving and understanding husband. Let us recognize the "oneness" of a marriage, rather than highlighting just one half of the working unit.

Just one more thing.

Some women are envious over the positions men get to hold in the workplace (and the amount of money they are paid).

This raises the question of women working.

Simple logic tells us that, a mother with children under 12 or 13, if she is going to do her job properly, simply does not have the time to go out and work full time. Too many things are going to be left undone if eight or more hours are taken out of the day.

While it is ideal for a mother to make her job running the home, this is only possible if the husband and wife plan for it right from the beginning of the marriage. Instead of getting that "nice house" and the "nice cars" early in life, it may have to wait till the parenting job - in partnership with God - has been completed.

It makes good sense for a woman to have a job before having children, especially to stock up on the linen, cookware, and so on, that is needed to make a house a home.

However, in Proverbs we read of a women who took care of her household, yet was still able to earn some extra income.

Pro 31:10-16 NET.  Who can find a wife of noble character?
    For her value is far more than rubies
(11)  The heart of her husband has confidence in her,
    and he has no lack of gain. 
(12)  She brings him good and not evil
    all the days of her life. 
(13)  She obtains wool and flax,
    and she is pleased to work with her hands. 
(14)  She is like the merchant ships;
    she brings her food from afar. 
(15)  She also gets up while it is still night,
    and provides food for her household and a portion to her female servants. 
(16)  She considers a field and buys it;
    from her own income she plants a vineyard.

A woman can sometimes make money by making things at home, and then selling them (v13).

Notice v16. Here she is supervising a field that is growing a crop. The actual planting and harvesting would most likely be done by contract labor.  The actual hours that she would be away from home in a year would probably be very small.

I think the principle that Proverbs is trying to get across, is that it is not wrong  for a wife to earn money, just do it in ways that does not impact too much on the time you spend with your family. Today, many women are using the Internet to run small businesses from home.

Some Thoughts on Marriage.

In reading the Life Application Study Bible, I came across some statements they have made about marriage, that I think are worth taking some time to think about.

Genesis 2, page 9:
"Marriage is based on the principled practice of love, not on feelings."

In other words, if you do what is right by God's law, then the marriage will work, and the feelings of oneness will come with time.

Genesis 2, page 8:
"Living with the consequences of our choices teaches us to think and choose more carefully".

Genesis 2, page 9:
"Marriage is a living symbol of Christ and the church".

Genesis 4, page 13:
"Sexual intercourse is the most intimate of acts, sealing a social, physical, and spiritual relationship.  That is why God has reserved it for marriage alone."

Conclusion.

Men have been given the necessary characteristics to be in charge, because they can keep the "big picture" in mind, and once having set a course will generally stick to it.

Women have been given the necessary characteristics to be in charge of the myriad of things that need to happen - many at the same time - in the home.

As  a general rule, men will probably spend more time dealing with issues outside the home - but should never be to the exclusion  of not knowing what the family is doing and what they are feeling. Women will usually spend more time on issues inside the home - but again, this should never be to the exclusion of knowledge about of the "state of the family" and what is happening in the world.

In a Christian marriage there is room for some overlap (for example, dad changing nappies and mum doing something in the garden) and both should be interested and knowledgeable with what their spouse is doing. The division of labour needs to be sorted out through discussion, and if either has special skills in an area, then they can look after that side of things for the good of the family. For example, some women have better financial skills than men, so allow them to use those skills and keep track of the family's finances.

Men should treat all women with respect, and be quick to defend them.

Men and women have different areas of responsibility as they head for the common goal of becoming spirit beings in God's Kingdom.

When people talk about wanting "equality" for the women of the world so they can take over leadership positions from the men, they are - as I see it -  rejecting God's standards, and allowing their basic human nature to replace them.


Bob Orchard July 2008

While this information is made freely available (Mat 10:8b) , and can be printed out, it is done with the understanding that there will only be fair and honest use of the material, and that it will be copied in full with no alterations.





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