Series: What the Bible says about Gender
Message – What the Bible says about Gender Pt. 1
What the Bible says about Gender
Lest we forget where we are in our teachings this year and what led us to this series within a series…we have been talking about:
- The body of Christ as a body of His Ministers.
- That the body is edified and takes on the likeness of their Lord as each part does its share in being used in the gifts expressed in and through our individual ministries.
- Pastors and other energies in the body equip the laity for the work of the ministry.
- Paul informs us that AS the Spirit speaks, He will always confirm the person and truth regarding Christ Jesus.
- ANY spiritual gift, given and directed by the Holy Spirit will ALWAYS…and I do mean ALWAYS…glorify and place a spotlight upon Jesus as both Savior and King (Lord). Any “spiritual gift” that fails to do this, or which draws attention to man is NOT of God…PERIOD!!!
Remember when the Spirit of truth comes He will speak of ME and glorify ME – Jesus said in John 16:13-16.
- Finally, this issue of gender and how it affects the manifestation of the Spirit in the gifts and ministries of the body is where we have been focusing our attention with the brief exception of palm sunday and Easter.
If we fail to live within the parameters God set up in regard to gender roles – everything else we do in life and ministry becomes less significant and robs God of His intended glory by means of misrepresentation. THAT is why all of this is SO important! Those who resist this place their personal feelings of value in a position of more importance than God’s glory.
If we truly want to glorify our Lord, we will do as Joel prophecies of God’s end-time army and, “everyone will walk straight before them…not breaching into another man’s work and no one will break rank!”
Now, we ended two weeks ago with a question and answer time and we will get back to that, but today is a little more structured in order to facilitate covering more ground and it will almost certainly generate more questions for when we DO have our Q&A time.
We are going to look at the primary topics regarding gender roles, but first, I need to re-address something from our last session.
We ended on a question regarding women owning businesses in which they have male subordinates. I knew at the time I answered the question that it was an incomplete answer which I offered off the top of my head – which I admitted at the time.
Nevertheless, I went back over it believing it needed more attention and study and so we will cover that first.
And let me say that I wouldn’t take the time to address this further unless I knew it to be a very valid question which needs serious consideration from the scriptures.
Question: If a woman is not to exercise authority over a man – can she own and manage a business?
Answer: To be honest, this was never directly addressed in scripture because such scenarios just simply did not exist in the world and culture in which the early church lived. However, we CAN approximate a scriptural answer based upon what the scriptures HAVE addressed.
So, let’s look at this passage about women and authority again to see what it actually says. Turn to 1Timothy 2:12, “(12) And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to remain in quiet peace. (13) For Adam was formed first then Eve.”
The words “to have authority over or to usurp authority over” represent the one Greek word authentéō and has a rather broad meaning. It is a compound word coming from autós (G846), meaning murderer, absolute master, and éntea (n.f.) arms, armor.
So the full scope of the word can mean anything from “A self-appointed killer with one’s own hand”, “one acting by his own authority or power”, “Governing, to use or exercise authority or power over as an autocrat, dictator, despot, tyrant…to domineer.”
While obviously most of the above would not even be legal, it is the latter to which Paul is referring and there are ways to manage a business without being a domineering, tyrannical dictator.
Now, using some common sense…we know that Christ would never advocate ANYONE being this way, so there MUST be more to the meaning than a surface encounter suggests. I think (and I own that this is an opinion – and therefore not on par with established doctrine) that the heart of Paul’s inspired command here is that he does not want women in a position of proactively directing the affairs of males.
As in cases of all doctrine, we can make those things which are uncertain in scripture by comparing it to those things which are absolutely clear.
Christ has made it clear, through those He called and commissioned to lay down New Testament doctrine, that woman (not wives only) were created FOR man (not husbands only) and that their role was that of helper – not leader. This we know!
So ANY interpretation we entertain as possibilities HAS to conform to what we already know is true regarding God’s intentions in male/female relationships.
At the same time, knowing God to be a loving and kind God, He would not unreasonably limit ANYONES freedoms unnecessarily. So, I believe it is in keeping with the tradition of good scriptural interpretation to “look” for ways in which the limitations on women are as minimal as at all possible, while simultaneously not compromising the heart of God’s clear intentions in His Word.
With that in mind, while Paul’s words here (if taken to the extreme) would prohibit women from owning and managing a business, in which any man would be her employee, I do not know that I can claim that such would have been Paul’s instructions.
Clearly, the idea of being a tyrancial autocrat, domineering and dictating an employee of any gender is ungodly…if coming from a woman to a man, it changes from being demeaning to being emasculating and therefore would be WAY beyond the pale of acceptability.
Understood in this way, it “may” be permissible (and this is the bit that is “my” subjective interpretation) for a women to own a business and even have male employees over whom she “has” authority, but how she expresses that authority needs to be with respect to their personhood as men. She should NEVER be dictatorial, demanding or micromanage them as if they were children. If they cannot perform a job without your immediate and constant supervision – you need to put them in another position or terminate their employment. A female boss should never manage men in an emasculating way.
So how should she treat them? Should she show preference to men, JUST because they are men? Well I would say NO, but with one caveat.
As Christians, it is incumbent upon us to LIVE our Christian beliefs in all places and not set them aside even in the workplace. As such, it would be inconsistent with God’s stated goals, in regard to gender roles, to consistently place men in submissive roles to women.
How might that be avoided and still obey the law? These two may not always be able to be reconciled, but in most cases…I believe the Lord will guide each of us into truth without compromise.
One thought, is that it is always wise to play to the strengths of employees and volunteers. Now, by strengths, I do not necessarily mean those they have personally cultivated, but those which God instilled in them by design. Good managers will see potentials in people and play to them – encouraging growth.
If I had a female employee, I would seek to utilize her natural gifts and talents as a helper, an organizer, one who excels in social settings, interactions with children (if the job requires it)…etc., rather than encouraging her into roles of leadership. An example of this I witnessed in a local business was a woman who was in charge of Public Relations and sales for a restaurant. She goes out into the community and connect with other businesses drumming up interest and appealing to their patronage by special deals tailored for them. Like bringing sandwiches once a month to local firefighters and offering them discounts on certain days or anytime they come to the restaurant in uniform. While a man “could” do this job, because it is more social and interactive, a woman will many times outshine a man in a position like this.
In like manner I would seek to utilize and cultivate the natural leadership giftings which are in all men (though it is sometimes suppressed or latent due to extenuating life experiences).
To make this fair and to be in keeping with the law, I would make all starting salaries the same and promote from within. Pay increases would not be based upon duties but upon job performance and time with the company. As such, a man who has worked with the company for 5 years and is now in some form of leadership would not be in a financially superior position to a woman, who has been there the same amount of time with the same level of job performance – whatever her position might be.
Also, to be clear, discrimination happens on both sides of the employment isle all the time, only when it happens to men… virtually no one thinks twice about it. Because our culture is suffering under the imposed delusion that women are the sole sufferers of discrimination. An example I ran into just recently was an ad for help in a daycare setting which was posted exclusively for women. Men need not apply. “Technically”, that is discriminatory…but anyone with common sense understands the caution of hiring a man in such a position. It is not that men are incapable of doing this job, but it is far better suited for a woman for MANY reasons. The most practical of which is that most children will take to women easier than men.
Men typically do not look for these positions, so anyone who does naturally “appears” suspicious. More men than women have been charged with child-molestation…etc. So while it may be sexist, and discriminatory it is also commonly practiced and allowed. In fact the only way in which it would not be acceptable is if the one being discriminated against was a woman or a minority.
If we are dealing with a company owner – management is less of an issue on the level of employees and there are options which would safeguard a woman from being placed in the position of immediate management of men. For example, she could choose to set up and submit to a board of directors comprised largely of men, one of which could act as president while she take on the role of Vice president. In such a position she is still free to influence the company, but in the end… the direction the company takes would be based upon what the board as a whole has decided… not on her own authority or power by itself.
One last thought – If I were in the position of being a female business owner, I would seek a partnership with a male and divide the responsibilities between the two so as to exercise as little leadership over men as at all possible. In other words, if the line of doctrinal acceptability was immediately in front of me, I’d deliberately take 5 large steps back and draw my personal line of acceptability there!
Now that we have re-addressed that…are there any more questions before we proceed?
Now we are going to look at what the bible teaches about gender roles. First however, it is important to be able to discern the difference between God’s design and man’s fall.
The fall of man affected their spiritual existence which impacted their physical life – not the other way around. Gender roles were not established by ar even AT the fall – they were pre-existing. The fall impacted us in our gender but not in it’s purpose and function. Man was always to be the head and the provider – only now the earth would fight and resist him, and it would be in hard toiling he would make provision all his days. The HOW was affected – not the WHAT.
In like manner, the woman would help the man and would desire his attention and heart, but she will now desire to rule over him, but the fall did not change that he MUST rule over her and now, her childbearing wouldbe with pain.
So you can readily see, the purpose and plan for the genders remain unaltered. God’s purposes cannot be stopped by mankind, however, His desires can!
Now, we are going to begin with the familiar passages of the New Testament and then work back by subject to those passages in the Old Testament. As we do this we will see how everything the New Testament has to say about gender roles it gets from the Old Testament.
Remember one of our key verses which speaks most specifically to our gender roles is found in 1 Cor. 11:3…
“…and the head of the woman is man…” (1 Cor. 11:3)
Rules for understanding:
- When Paul speaks to men he is speaking to men.
- When Paul speaks to women, he is speaking to women.
- When Paul speaks to young men, he is speaking to young men and their mentors.
- Notice also that both here and in 1Jn. 2:12-14, young women are NEVER addressed specifically and directly.
Also, know that if you will follow after the Lord you WILL be at odds with the world and you will be the target of their scorn and threats. The World will always challenge God’s ways,
In an article from Today’s Parent, entitled Should you quit your job to be a stay-at-home- mom? by Claire Gagne June 11, 2017,
“Your decision to work or stay home with the kids will affect many people, but think hard about what will make you most happy, not what you think should make you happy.”
Let’s begin in Titus 2:1-8,
“(1) But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: (2) that the older men be:
- Sober – Self-controlled, sound minded; watchful; diplomatic and careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences of thoughts and actions.
- Reverent – Dignity coupled with reverant behavior.Venerable, reputable. It is a quality of majestic and awe-inspiring nobility which is inviting rather than repelling.
- Temperate – self-restrained in passions, temper & desires; self-disciplined in regard to one’s freedoms and sound in mind
- sound in faith – Solid and dependable in biblical understanding. Safe & uncorrupted in doctrine.
- in love – Agape
- in patience – it is associated with hope and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or fold under trial.
(3) the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— (4) that they admonish the young women to:
- love their husbands
- to love their children
- to be discreet (self-restrained in passions, temper & desires; self-disciplined in regard to one’s freedoms and sound in mind)
- Chaste – (Morally pure and holy)
- Homemakers – (A keeper at home, one who looks after domestic affairs with prudence and care – Illustrated in Prov. 31)
- Good – (faithful to her husband as well as profitable and useful to him)
- obedient to their own husbands – Hupotasso
so that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
(6) Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, (7) in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, (8) sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”
Now turn to 1Peter 3:1-9,
“(1) Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, (2) when they observe your chaste conduct (morally pure and holy) accompanied by fear (respect). (3) Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— (4) rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (Mild and inwardly at peace – undisturbed tranquility), which is very precious in the sight of God. (5) For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, (6) as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
(7) Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (8) Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; (9) not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
This service had content that is NOT written out here, so I would encourage you to listen to it WHILE you read…Blessings!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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