Wives should submit to their husbands as if to the Lord. Eph. 5:22
The mood shifted in the men’s Bible study when they read the verses in 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 which says: “God isn’t a God of disorder but of peace. Like in all the churches of God’s people, the women should be quiet during the meeting. They are not allowed to talk!”
At first, the one reading simply continued reading, not wanting to stop and ponder the issue. However, one of the men asked that terrible question, “Why do we just skip over these verses, ignoring them altogether?” His question turned the conversation, stripped it bare of false pretense and stood it right in the middle of the circle of chairs. This 500 pound gorilla had to be noticed.
“Perhaps this is in reference to those times, a cultural thing, because women were prone to talking more in church, asking their husbands questions which disrupted the service.”
“Don’t forget that their meetings were so different from ours today,” another man said. “They met in houses or outdoors. There were no pews, center aisles, platform, etc. Life was different. The women felt free to just speak out when they had a question. I think this verse is speaking to a different time, a different culture.”
“If we go down that road,” one man said, “we open the door to minimize all Scripture, explaining it away as to an ancient culture, not relevant to ours today. What would be next, could we pick and choose which verses were pertinent to our culture, our time in history?”
Another man agreed, “The Bible is written to humans, not to eras or time frames. Jesus died over two thousand years ago for our salvation, not just for those living then. The entire New Testament describes our new life in Christ based on his death and resurrection, regardless of when a person lives.”
“Let’s not forget 2 Timothy 3:16,” said one of the men, “Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correction, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.”
“I know this,” said the first man. “If I tried to enforce this rule in my marriage, sparks would fly!”
The group chuckled and enjoyed a moment of laughter, knowing that his assessment was probably universal in this group and with most men and women in church. Sadly so.
Although this small group of Christian men did not vow to revolutionize their lives in an attempt to more accurately follow the verses, helping their wives understand and follow the word of God in spite of the challenges. . .they knew they should and were a little sad at first.
The Bible does not view women as inferior to men, demanding their submission to them. To the contrary, God has tough words of instruction for men as well. He wants men to love their wives as Christ loved the church . By our haughty, independent attitudes, we defy God by refusing to follow His words since they seem to insult or demean our male/female equality.
- 1 Cor. 14:33-35 Like in all the churches of God’s people, the women should be quiet during the meeting. They are not allowed to talk. Instead, they need to get under control, just as the Law says.If they want to learn something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is disgraceful for a woman to talk during the meeting.
Why do men tremble and women resist these verses today? Keep in mind that the Bible is filled with difficult and humanly impossible instructions (made possible through the Holy Spirit). That is why we must keep our eyes on Jesus, the “author and perfecter of our faith!” We are filled with the Holy Spirit who guides our lives (when we listen) and enables all believers to submit to God’s leadership.
- Ephesians 5:20-33 Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and submit to each other out of respect for Christ. For example, wives should submit to their husbands as if to the Lord. A husband is the head of his wife like Christ is head of the church, that is, the savior of the body. So wives submit to their husbands in everything like the church submits to Christ. As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. He did this to make her holy by washing her in a bath of water with the word. That’s how husbands ought to love their wives—in the same way as they do their own bodies. Anyone who loves his wife loves himself. No one ever hates his own body, but feeds it and takes care of it just like Christ does for the church because we are parts of his body. This is why a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two of them will be one body.[a] Marriage is a significant allegory, and I’m applying it to Christ and the church. In any case, as for you individually, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and wives should respect their husbands. (a. Gen. 2:24)
- Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good, gaining favor from the Lord.
- Colossians 3:18-19 Wives submit to your husbands in a way that is appropriate in the Lord. Husbands love your wives and don’t be harsh with them.
Have Christians developed a hybrid version of the Bible? Perhaps we should call it, Buffet Christianity; we pick and choose only those sections and verses palatable to us. After all, this is the twenty-first century and we all have our rights. We are neither too hot nor too cold. We don’t want to offend. We have become agreeable, lukewarm. See what God has to say about being lukewarm in Revelation 3:14-17.
In conclusion: Who’s in charge? God is. And who are we, His creations, to decide which Bible verses we will follow or which are relevant in our present culture? If that is our stand, we are on very dangerous ground leading to disappointment and heartache. It is by faith we are saved and by faith we follow the Bible. God, the creator of all things, including the Bible, loves us so much that He established a way for our eternal life with Him. How then, could we, His creations, decide to ignore or modify the words He miraculously assembled as a life guide? We shouldn’t be surprised that some Bible verses frustrate or challenge us. But as we devour His words, He will heal our hearts.