What Does Yehovah Preach About Men and Women? Let's Investigate

Many circles of Christianity preach against women becoming pastors, teachers or holding any kind of leadership position. Even using the Bible to back these claims up. When I first heard of this, I was confused, even angry! Some of the best teachers and most gifted disciples of God in my life, are all women. How can God say this? So in today's teaching, we will dive into what God says regarding the hierarchy and power dynamics around men and women.


In The Beginning

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The first time we read about man and woman, is in Genesis and the story of creation:

Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Gen 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God created both male and female in His image.

In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and become aware they are naked, we encounter the first time God sets in place a hierarchy/power dynamic:

Gen 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

God clearly states - Your husband will have authority over you. Note, that this does not say all men have authority over all women. This rule from God is specific in a marriage context, which we will discuss next to dive deeper into what 'having authority' means.

Conclusion - Because of Eve's disobedience to the Lord, husbands were given authority over their wives.


Marriage Covenant

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Turning to the book of Numbers, where God's Law is being firmly established, this "authority" is explained in more detail:

Num 30:13 Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself.

Num 30:14 But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them.

Num 30:15 If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he must bear the consequences of her wrongdoing.

God establishes that a husband's authority over his wife means he can revoke or approve any decision made by his wife. The wife is free to make any decision or vow, but the husband can revoke it. But by doing so, the husband HIMSELF takes on the consequences of her vow. Having authority or responsibility for someone includes taking on the consequences of their wrongdoings and putting yourself in their place instead of them.

More ideas on the authority a man has are fleshed out in the New Testament:

Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which He is the Savior.

Eph 5:24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Therefore this means, wives are to listen and obey their husbands and trust their husbands the way the church obeys and listens to and trusts Christ's authority and protection over His church (trust and obey that everything your husband is doing for you and your family is to protect you and care for you). This backs up what is said in Numbers, but more direction is given for husbands in verses 25 - 28:

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

Eph 5:26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

Eph 5:27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

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

So, while men have the authority to influence their wives' decisions and lead the direction of their family, men need to love their wives as Yeshua loved the church (And Yeshua died for the church!), as well as loving them as much as their own body, therefore husbands are to lay down their lives for their wife and serve their wife with all they are just as Christ did and bled for His church, serving her til the very end. This clearly shows a husband does not have the authority to do as he pleases in a marriage.

Note - It is also established in Numbers that daughters and sons are also subject to the authority of the father until they leave the household.

Conclusion - The authority husbands have is they can approve/reject the decisions their wives and children make and if so, bear the consequences themselves of any wrongdoing (Note - Wives and children are still free to make decisions). However, husbands are to treat their wives and take care of their wives like they would themselves and love and serve them just like Yeshua did the church.


Paul's Letter Saying Women Must be Silent in Churches

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In his letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul writes this:

1Co 14:34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.

1Co 14:35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Firstly, ask yourself, Paul was on fire for the Lord, and always followed and taught others to follow God's Law. Does what Paul is saying line up with scripture? No, so we are missing a piece of the puzzle somewhere. Most of the time in Paul's letters, it is the context (e.g. who are the people he is writing to), or the translators of the English Bibles have made a mistake.

In this case, it is a bit of both. It is a translation error because the word women is referring to:

G1135 - γυνή gynḗ, goo-nay'; probably from the base of G1096; a woman; specially, a wife:—wife, woman.

Instead of women, they should have written wife. This makes perfect sense because in the very next verse, it says:

1Co 14:35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home

Who should ask their husbands at home? Of course not the random women, but the wives who have husbands.

It is also missing some context because the Corinthian Church was unruly and misbehaved, which concerned Paul. Some wives were causing division in the church by their authoritative behavior.

Also, remember that women were not allowed to go to Hebrew School so therefore they did not know all the scriptures in depth and only what was taught to them by their fathers and sometimes brothers. If the original teaching was incorrect then the wives/women would create division within the church with their interpretations of scripture that was taught to them by others. (This is also why husbands are called to read/teach scripture to their families the way Christ did to His church)

This is a very specific letter addressed to a specific congregation. It does not mean women or wives should be silent in church today unless they act against God's Law. This is not a blanket statement at all!

Conclusion - Paul's verse was directed at the misbehaving Corinthian church. He is aiming the verse at some specific wives of husbands who were getting involved in disputes, creating division and creating unruliness in the church. To restore some order, he tells them to rather discuss their concerns at home instead of creating division in the congregation.


Paul's Letter to Timothy Saying Women Should Not Teach

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Another letter used to kick women out of leadership positions, but I ask you the same question. Does this line up with what God instructed? Of course not!

It is the same issue as previously, that of a mistranslation. The same word to describe "women" is G1135 - γυνή gynḗ, goo-nay' - Wife. So in these verses, replace woman with wife in your head and suddenly it makes more sense. Paul is elevating God's Law and promoting it to be followed:

1Ti 2:11 A woman (wife) should learn in quietness and full submission.

1Ti 2:12 I do not permit a woman(wife) to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

1Ti 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve

1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

By teaching and assuming authority, Paul is referring to women acting authoritatively over their husbands. This does not mean women cannot guide their husbands to the correct path! But here, it is clear Paul and Timothy are discussing married couples who are already attending church, and by extension, dealing with a husband who is already knowledgable.

And again, this follows the same reasoning of women did not go to school, and often did not learn to read or write so therefore only knew what they were told/taught by their husbands/fathers who did go to school and learned all the scriptures.

Conclusion - Paul is writing to Timothy to demonstrate how a married couple should behave in a congregation, namely that wives should not authoritatively rule over their husbands. Paul is promoting God's Law in this way.


Are Women Subordinate to Men in Any Way?

No.

Outside of marriage, there is no scriptural evidence to say God sees men and women differently. They are equal in every way as they were both made from God and in His image.

As we have established, in a marriage and a father/child relationship, God instituted a rule that the husband or father would be able to have authority over the wife, daughter, and son. This authority means being able to revoke a decision that the woman/children make. However, this cannot be out of line with what is said in Ephesians - The man must love his wife as Yeshua loved the church (i.e. He would die for his wife and kids) and he must love them just as he loves his own body. It is also said in 1 Corinthians that there must be mutual respect between husband and wife. It is the husband's responsibility therefore to lead the marriage and family with God's Word.

This is the mistake Adam made - He let Eve lead him (He ate the fruit) instead of following God's Word (Don't eat the fruit).

The hierarchy in a marriage is therefore established by God as:

1) God

2) Husband and/or Father

3) Wife and/or Mother

4) Children

When a woman chooses (she has free will) to enter into a marriage covenant, she accepts these terms set by God, as a consequence of Eve's actions). Choosing otherwise and claiming she is in a Godly relationship, means that she has made her own religion. Outside of marriage, however, she is free to do what she wants and is only subject to the rule of God and potentially her father, if she has not left the household yet.

Here are some more cases to show that women have held many important and key roles in the Bible, both Old and New Testament:

1) Prophets of God were both Men and Women, regardless if they were married or not. (e.g. Miriam, Aaron's sister, and Anna from the Aser tribe, who was married, but still prophesied)

2) Women and Men were both welcomed to serve and learn in the Church

Act 5:14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

Deu 31:12 Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.

Conclusion - Outside of marriage, men do not have authority over women as God made them both equal in His image. But even within a marriage, women can still hold any position in a church, this is backed up by many cases in the Bible where women would be of great importance in the Church (eg: Mary Magdelene).


Final Conclusion

The idea that men are above women in the church and that women should not be in leadership roles has sparked huge debate between sects of Christianity. Hence why we must read the Scriptures to determine what God says about this matter.

We read in Genesis that God created both men and women equal, in His image and by His design. Then, because of Eve's disobedience to the Lord after eating the forbidden fruit, God instituted a law that husbands would have authority over their wives (and bear the consequences themselves over their wife's wrongdoings).

Examining this Law in Numbers and further explanations in Ephesians and Corinthians, we saw that this authority means husbands can reject/approve any decision or vow their wives make, as long as it is in line with two key principles - The husband loves their wife as Yeshua loved the Church and they treat them as they would their own body. It would be the husband's responsibility to be the head of the family and to lead them in God's Word. Something Adam did not manage to do when he listened to Eve instead of following God's instructions.

This law extends to children, who are under the authority of the father until they leave the house.

Examining Paul's letters to Timothy and the Corinthian church, we saw that due to mistranslations and missing context, Paul is speaking about specific cases here of unruly and disruptive wives who were acting authoritatively over their husbands. After placing the correct translations and establishing context, we can conclude Paul is promoting God's hierarchy in marriage, and not making a blanket statement to all women.

Finally, we concluded that outside of marriage, women are only subject to God's authority and are free to hold any position they want, just as it has always been in the Bible. However, if they choose to enter into a marriage covenant, they are accepting God's hierarchy and must obey it.

I hope you enjoyed this teaching!