1. Should a wife submit to her husband?


Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  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 wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”


As I read this verse, the question we’re trying to answer could be broken up into 2 questions:


One, what is submission?


Two, what is headship, or put another way, what does it mean to have authority?


So the first question – what is submission?


Well, it depends on the context. The same Greek word used for submission in the Bible is used not just for husbands and wives, but with civil authorities, church elders, other believers, employers, and private institutions. So I’m going to propose a definition that covers all these bases. Are you ready?


Submission is a heart-attitude that honors authority, obeys its legitimate commands, forgives its misuses, and respectfully declines commands that are outside of its jurisdiction to give.


The first part of this definition – the part about giving honor and obeying legitimate commands protects the heart against the sin of rebellion. The second part – the part about forgiving misuses and respectfully declining illegitimate commands – protects the heart against the sin of unforgiveness.


When you put them together it’s like putting an impenetrable force-field around the one thing in life that matters most, which is our relationship with God. No matter how unjust or oppressive of an authority a person finds himself under, submission will render that authority powerless to harden a person’s heart toward God.


So, the Bible’s commands about submission are meant to protect us and empower us. Submission is not weakness. In fact, it is the most powerful action a person can take in response to oppressive leadership because it invites the power of God into the situation.


Now let’s look at the second question – What is headship or what does it mean to have authority?


Well, this also means different things in different contexts. For example, church leaders have authority to teach, comfort, or rebuke in a church context. Civil rulers have authority to punish evil if it violates someone’s life or liberty or property. Parents have authority to teach and discipline children.


Furthermore, the Greek word used for authority in the Bible does not only mean the power to make someone do something, but it can also just mean grace or anointing from God to do something you’re called to do.  For example, Mathew 7 says Jesus taught with authority. In 2 Corinthians 13, Paul said God gave him authority for building up the Corinthian church.


So the real question here is, what type of authority does the Bible give a husband?


I believe that the authority given to husbands in the Bible is to love, serve, protect, provide, and lead by example.


Now I know some will say this definition softens what the Bible says to make it more palatable to our politically correct culture. And honestly, I appreciate that kind of challenge. I think Christians and Christian leaders more and more are backing away from hard biblical truths in our culture because they don’t want to offend.


But if that’s your stance here, let me put the burden of proof on you for a moment and ask where do you see in scripture that the specific type of authority given to husbands includes the authority to give a command, or having the final say in a major decision?


Now you might say, well Jesus gives the commands to the church, therefore husbands can give commands to their wives because that’s the metaphor that Ephesians 5 uses. Ok, well let’s think about that.


A husband does not literally die on a cross for the sins of his wife, right? A wife will not appear before the judgment seat of her husband after she dies, will she? Obviously not. So the marriage metaphor has limits.


Well, what are those limits? To find out, we should examine portions of scripture where Christ is specifically portrayed as a husband, or where the Father is portrayed as a husband to Israel, or other passages that speak specifically about godly marriage. Here are several examples:


Ephesian 5:25-33, Isaiah 54:5-8, Hosea 2:14-23, Revelation 19:7-9, Isaiah 62:4-5, Song of Solomon, Jeremiah 31:32, Ezekiel 16:8-14, Ruth 4-5, 1 Peter 3:7, Colossians 3:19, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Timothy 5:8


When I look at these and other passages, the impression I get is that husbands are given authority to love, serve, protect, provide, and lead by example.


Now in contrast to these, whenever Jesus is depicted as giving commands, it’s usually in the role of a king or a judge or a master or a creator, not a husband. Those metaphors don’t apply to marriage.


So for a wife, we might say submission is heart-attitude that honors her husband’s calling to love, serve, protect, provide and lead their family, forgives him when he falls short of this calling, and respectfully declines commands (or force or pressure) since they are not within his jurisdiction to give.


My marriage was nearly destroyed in part because I thought submission meant I should always have the final say in every major decision. After God restored my marriage, I began seeing my wife more as a partner and wise counselor, often providing discernment and insights I would never have thought of. This has brought us much closer together and has vastly improved the marriage model we present to our daughters.






2. What was the Impact of the Fall on Society and Family?


In general, God created men to be more accomplishment-oriented and women to be more relationship-oriented. This is why Adam’s primary commission from God was in the area of labor and accomplishment – to cultivate and keep the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). Eve’s primary commission was in the area of relationships, as a helper and partner to her husband (Genesis 2:18).


Correspondingly, when mankind fell to sin, Adam and Eve’s curses were also related to labor and relationships. For Adam, the ground was cursed so his labor would become toilsome. For Eve, God multiplied her pain in childbirth and warned her about the effect of sin on her marriage (Genesis 3:16-19).


Of course, men also have a relational side and women also esteem labor and accomplishments. This speaks of our primary orientations, not our only orientations. 


Impact of the Fall on Adam’s Labor


Before the fall, I believe both the environment and Adam’s mental and physical abilities were flawless. His labor would have been unimaginably fulfilling, marked by fluid creativity and innovation. Over time, he would have experienced success after success, his influence always expanding, like a career path that goes from one plateau to another.


As the population grew, all people would have used their unique gifts and abilities and labored harmoniously alongside one another. Adam and his descendants would have built homes, cities, technologies, and governing/organizational structures completely devoid of sinful influence.


There would have been an abundance of every kind of valuable good and service. No one would have worried about how to survive. The earth would have been far beyond any conception of utopia fallen mankind has contrived.


After the fall, Adam’s labor became a frustrating struggle. He faced opposition from the environment and diminished mental and physical abilities. He faced setbacks, injuries, and confusing problems with no solution.


As the population grew, people frequently worked against one another, vying for position, ruled by selfish motives. Leaders enslaved and dominated others. People toiled to make ends meet and worried about the future. There was poverty, starvation, and violent conflicts over valuable resources.


Impact of the Fall on Eve’s Relationships


Without sin, Eve’s relationships with her husband, children, and others would have been completely pure. She would have given herself to her husband unreservedly. She would have been delighted to help him because she knew he always had her best interests at heart. She would never have questioned his motives or worried he might try to dominate her. She would never have felt jealous because she knew his romantic desire was for her alone. She would have felt no compulsion to control him because she knew he perfectly relied on God’s grace to lead their family.


She would have freely poured out love and wisdom into her children. She would have watched her beautiful legacy expand to grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and on and on. Her family line would have been forever devoid of pain, fear, or grief. 


After the fall, Adam and Eve’s marriage was distorted by sin. Pain and distrust crept in. Just as God warned (Genesis 3:16), Eve was prone to idolizing Adam, looking more to him for her sense of value and security than to God. This caused her to often feel jealous and insecure.


Also, as God warned, Adam was prone to ruling over Eve from selfish motives (Genesis 3:16). This caused her to become fearful about how he led their family.


She also experienced multiplied pain in childbirth, which paralleled the pain she experienced in their spiritual development. She saw her children rebel, hurt one another, develop addictions, and cause her heavy grief.


Hope for the Future


This contrast between what is and what could have been can honestly be really sad and heavy to think about, but the good news is that for those of us who know Jesus Christ, everything that mankind lost by rebelling against God will one day be recovered.


We will spend eternity as part of God’s eternal family enjoying pure, fulfilling relationships. And we will labor and accomplish incredible things working side by side in a perfectly restored new heavens and new earth.  This is the wonderful hope and the redemption that Jesus Christ purchased for mankind on the cross. This is our future.





3. Are Women a Higher Order of Creation?


When God began to create living things in the Genesis account, each life form He created was progressively more complex and beautiful than the last. This pattern continued in the creation of mankind. Eve being created last means she was the culmination, or highest part, of all that God created.


In a previous video, I discussed how God in general created men to be accomplishment-oriented and women to be relationship-oriented. This was reflected by their commissions from Him. With that in mind, consider the following three logic steps:


Step 1: Men, in general, typify the strength of God and the building, protecting, accomplishing nature of God.


Step 2: Women, in general, typify the beauty of God and the relational nature of God.


Step 3: If there were no beauty, there would be nothing worth protecting. The reason strength exists is to protect and serve that which is beautiful. Likewise, if there were no relationships, building and accomplishing would be empty and meaningless. The reason we build societies is so that relationships (families, communities, churches) can exist and thrive.


 In other words, the strength of God exists to protect and serve the beauty of God. The building nature of God exists to protect and serve the relational nature of God.


I’ve occasionally heard Christian leaders say there is no greater joy in the universe than beholding the beauty of God. It’s not an accident that they choose beauty as His attribute that is most worthy of marveling at. All of God’s attributes are worthy of worship, but there is something truly special about His beauty.


Even King David agreed with this. In Psalms 27:4, when he considered what He would ask of God if he could make only one request, he said:


“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD.”


Women, in a sense, are the culmination of God’s creation, because they uniquely reflect His incredible, relational beauty.




4. Are Women Weaker than Men?


1 Peter 3:7 says, “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman…”


This passage can feel insulting to some women because it highlights how women, in general, are physically weaker and emotionally tenderer than men. However, is this actually a negative statement? If we interpret scripture using scripture as we’re often exhorted, it makes sense to ask the question: What does the Bible say about weakness? Consider these verses:


 “…God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)


“And [Jesus] has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ …therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses… for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)


“I was with you in weakness.. my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith [would] rest on… the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:3-5)


Now let’s summarize the verses we’ve read:


1) God’s power is perfected in weakness.

2) When we are weak, then we are strong.

3) God uses the weak to shame the strong.

4) Women are weaker than men.


When I first put these verses together, I started to feel envious of women! So much of the power that is available to believers comes from embracing a position of weakness and dependence on God. Paradoxically, I believe women in some ways are uniquely qualified to steward the power of God because they are inherently weaker. They can be entrusted with authority because they will more naturally acknowledge their dependence on Him.




5. Do Women Belong In the Home?


If someone said to me, “Women are just as competent and qualified as men for the most important jobs in society, so why should they stay home and raise children?” I would say, “You just answered your own question.” The bigger problem in our society is not inequality in the workplace, but the eviction of motherhood from its rightful place of honor.


I fully support equality in the workplace. My mother was a police officer and a therapist during different seasons of my upbringing. My wife worked as a marriage and family counselor. In my professional life, some of the best mangers I’ve reported to were women. I don’t deny that women often aren’t compensated for the value they create in the marketplace in the same way as their male colleagues. Nor do I deny that this inequality is wrong, detrimental to society, and should be pointed out in public discourse.


But the idea that a woman who chooses to be a stay-at-home mom is somehow missing out or settling for less is a ridiculous notion. When exactly did raising the next generation, sacrificially teaching them integrity and kindness and wisdom and work ethic day in and day out come to be considered less important than the labor of doctors or lawyers or accountants? How is caring for people’s bodies or companies or money more important than the formation of their souls? It’s not. In the long term, I’d argue it’s less important.


Motherhood is the ultimate act of service, the greatest sacrifice, and the most pressing need. Women are indeed just as competent and qualified for the most important jobs in society. In some ways they are more qualified. This is why those who choose the most important job of all – staying home to raise children – should be held in the highest esteem.