Note* All scripture passages taken from The Scriptures 1998+ unless otherwise noted.
In all things we first must learn of the Father by the example Messiah gave. In knowing that the Father is love, so must the man lead in love. Our Father in Heaven showed us his intentions and who is to lead and who is not. From the beginning man was created first and then the woman was created as his helper. This is very simple to understand and yet so many still do not get it. This is the Father’s design and he created us as he did with the abilities we have.
Male headship is a taboo topic in the world today. It’s not a surprise in a society that has comprehensively rejected God’s design for the family. But even within the body of Messiah it’s a topic that ruffles feathers and makes people uncomfortable.
Submission is an important issue in relation to marriage. Just as Messiah came to find a suitable bride, so does a suitor who seeks a bride gets to know a woman first so he knows she will obey Elohim by obeying him. If she does not show the fruit of the Spirit, just as Elohim divorced Israel because of her rebellion to his will, the suitor also will break his relationship with his potential bride.
Men think differently than women and this is something women need to understand. When a woman rises up and usurps authority, she sins. If a man rises up and usurps authority belonging to Messiah, he sins. It’s that simple. We trust Messiah at his word, just as a woman needs to trust the man and his thinking. There are not clauses in scripture for when a man makes a mistake. And many times some people only think he made a mistake because of their own lack of understanding.
Elohim places man at the head, man did not do this himself, Elohim gave him this authority when he was created. Scripture is straight forward on this issue.
And I wish you to know that the head of every man is the Messiah, and the head of woman is the man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim. 1 Corinthians 11:3
Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Master. Because the husband is head of the wife, as also the Messiah is head of the assembly, and He is Saviour of the body. But as the assembly is subject to Messiah, so also let the wives be to their own husbands in every respect. Husbands, love your wives, as Messiah also did love the assembly and gave Himself for it, in order to set it apart and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, in order to present it to Himself a splendid assembly, not having spot or wrinkle or any of this sort, but that it might be set-apart and blameless. In this way husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Some may think that this was a cultural notion that snuck into the Bible. But Paul makes it clear that the headship is related to the created order:
For man is not from woman, but woman from man. For man also was not created for the woman, but woman for the man. Because of this the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the messengers. 1 Corinthians 11:8-10
To the woman He said, “I greatly increase your sorrow and your conception – bring forth children in pain. And your desire is for your husband, and he does rule over you.” Genesis 3:16
The headship issue is an issue of order–not of who is better or more important. The husband is the head of the wife in the family, and he has the responsibility of guiding his family to a closer relationship with the Lord.
There is much misunderstanding in our world today about the roles of husband and wife within a marriage. Even when the biblical roles are properly understood, many choose to reject them in favor of a supposed “emancipation” of women, with the result that the family unit is torn apart. It’s no surprise that the world rejects Elohim’s design, but Elohim’s people should be joyfully celebrating that design.
Submission should be a natural response to loving leadership. Without this in place you have dysfunction and disobedience not only to the man but also to Elohim. The Scripture does not say, as many wish it did, that a wife should be subject to her husband as long as he is right and true to the Bible.
The submission of women is addressed in two general contexts in the New Testament. The first is the submission of women to men in the context of the church which is corporately gathered. This is the basis for Paul’s instructions to women in 1 Timothy chapter 2 and in 1 Corinthians chapter 14. The second context for the submission of the woman is that of marriage. This is the context for the submission which Paul calls for in Ephesians chapter 5.
The woman is to “put herself under” the headship of her husband, her own husband. This word “own” indicates that while there may be other expressions of submission which are necessary and appropriate for a wife to evidence in her relationships with others, there is a special “submission” which is required in relationship to her husband. The same exclusiveness can be seen in the practice of “love.” We are to love everyone, including our enemy, our neighbor, and our brothers in Christ. But the “love” of a woman for her husband is special and unique. Her love for others is of the same essence, but not the same expression.