1 Peter 3:6 how does Sarah’s obedience affect women in ministry?

1 Peter 3:6 how does Sarah’s obedience affect women in ministry?

Cheryl Schatz blog - obedience is it required in 1 Peter 3?

Sarah’s Obedience and the submission of women

How does 1 Peter 3:5, 6 with the Bible’s use of the word “obey” affect wives and in particular women in ministry?

Some say that wives are to “obey” their husbands in everything and that this makes the husband the “lord” or “master” of the wife.  Many hierarchists will reason that it follows then that if a wife is to obey everything her “master” tells her, if she were to be in a leadership position, then the husband would be in the position to control her decisions and her position as he is the wife’s “lord”.  But is unquestioning obedience and a role of the husband’s “lordship” what Peter is speaking of in 1 Peter 3:5, 6?

To determine the meaning of these two verses, we must first look at the complete context of the book of 1 Peter.  The book starts with a statement by Peter that Christians are chosen to obey Jesus Christ.  Obedience is a big part of Peter’s instruction, and it is always ultimately an obedience to Christ.

1 Peter 1:1, 2  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens,…who are chosen…to obey Jesus Christ…

Another important theme from 1 Peter is service toward others.  In 1 Peter 1:10-12 Peter reveals that the Prophets were not serving themselves, but they were serving us.

1 Peter 1:12  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you…

In this service, Peter tells us that we are called to holiness in our behavior.
1 Peter 1:15  but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
1 Peter 1:16  because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
We need to note here that all of us are called to obedience to Christ.  All of us are called to serve others, and all of us are called to holy living.  We are also called to a sincere love for the body of Christ.

1 Peter 1:22  Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

Peter then goes on in chapter 2 to describe the Christian’s behavior before the unsaved.  In 1 Peter 2:12 he writes:

1 Peter 2:12  Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

While Christians are to live an exemplary life among those who are not saved, we are also called to submit to human institutions set up to govern the people.  The reason we are to submit to the governing authorities is because it is the will of God that we do what is right.  Submission to the government will also silence those who look for something to accuse us of wrongdoing.  It is a witness to the unsaved.
1 Peter 2:13  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
1 Peter 2:14  or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
1 Peter 2:15  For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
However even though we are called to submit to human governments, we are free to act as though we are indeed free men.  In 1 Peter 2:16, the Greek word for the word “free” means “political and social freedom allowing for self-determination.”   That self-determination is not meant to be used for doing what is wrong, but the freedom is to be used to align ourselves with Christ.

1 Peter 2:16  Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

bondslave means one who serves in obedience to another’s will.
 
Next Peter admonishes Christians to honor, love, fear.

1 Peter 2:17  Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

While we honor all people and honor the governing authorities, the only one that we are to fear is God.  In chapter 2, Peter admonishes servants.  The term “servant” here means one who is within the household, one who belongs to the family.  These servants were to honor God by being submissive to their masters with a respectful attitude.  While service normally was to be a “duty” that was owed by a servant, Paul makes it a service that is given freely to the master and done in honor serving God.  The service is given not only to the good masters but also to those who are unreasonable whose personal behavior is unscrupulous, unfair or dishonest.
Then in 1 Peter 3:1 Paul says “in the same way” wives are to be submissive to their own husbands.
1 Peter 3:1  In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
1 Peter 3:2  as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
The term “in the same way” means likewise, of equal degree or manner and denoting perfect agreement, similarly, in like manner.  In context, the “likewise” means to show honor, love, respect in the fear of God.  The reason is given is that if any husband is not a believer, that husband may be won to a faith in Christ through the respectful behavior of his wife.  “In the same way” would also connect what Peter has already said about submission showing that the wife is free, allowing for self-determination, yet that self-determination is not meant to be used for dishonor and disrespect towards her husband.  Instead, she is to freely honor her husband and is so doing she honors her Lord and Savior.  In this way she is putting on the Christian character that is precious to God.
1 Peter 3:3  Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
1 Peter 3:4  but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
This is where we can take all that we have seen in 1 Peter and apply it.  Let’s take the first part of 1 Peter 3:5 –

1 Peter 3:5  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves…

“For in this way” means the way of respect, honor, love and fear of God.  These were women who hoped in God.  The term “hope” means an attitude of looking forward to, usually, a trusting, confident hope.  It was a trust in God that He would take care of them.

1 Peter 3:5 …being submissive to their own husbands;

These women voluntarily submitted to serve their own husbands.  Verse 6 shows several ways that Sarah served her husband and honored him.

1 Peter 3:6  just as Sarah obeyed Abraham…

The term “obey” has a basic meaning of “listen to” (Vol. 4Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker’s Greek New Testament library). Sarah honored Abraham by listening to him.  In much the same way, Abraham was instructed by God to listen to Sarah when she instructed Abraham to drive out Hagar from their midst.
Genesis 21:9  Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.
Genesis 21:10  Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.”
Genesis 21:11  The matter distressed Abraham greatly because of his son.
Genesis 21:12  But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named.
Not only did Sarah respect Abraham by listening to him but she also called him “lord”.

1 Peter 3:6…calling him lord…

The term “lord” was a cultural term that was “a form of address showing respect sir, lord”  Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Not all godly women called their husbands “lord” but Sarah did.  This is one form of respect.  It was her way of showing respect.  There are other ways.  Today, it is not culturally correct in our society for a woman to call her husband “lord”.  However, it would be very respectful for her to call him dear or sweetheart.  Sarah calling Abraham “lord” was a term of respect but calling him “lord” was not the description of his “role”.  If the husband was to be the “lord” over his wife, where is such a “role” stated?  There is no second witness that a term of respect was to be interpreted that God Himself gave the husband the ability to “lord over” over his wife.  In fact, the disciples were told that there was to be no “lording over” the others in the body of Christ.  (Matthew 20:25-28; 1 Peter 5:3)

1 Peter 3:6…and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

In this verse, Peter encourages wives to be respectful like Sarah.  Sarah is not the standard of reverence and respect.  She is an example of respect while Jesus is the one who is the standard.

It is also interesting that Peter shows that the wife’s actions are not to be coerced since the term “without being frightened by any fear” according to the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, it is preferable to be taken in the active sense (as not fearing human intimidation).   The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament also says this –

1 Pet 3:6, in the exhortation to Christian women married to non-Christian men: “fear no intimidation [from the men]”

Peter is emphasizing that Christian women are to fear God and not to fear intimidation from their husbands.  The submission then is not something that is forced on them or demanded by the husband.  Instead, it is loving acts of kindness in service to their husband that flows from their service to God.
Peter doesn’t stop with the wives.  He goes on to make it clear that husbands also must give honor to their wives.

1 Peter 3:7  You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

It is such an important issue to Peter that men show honor to their wives, that he tells them that their prayers will be hindered if they do not honor their wives as fellow heirs of God in the grace of life.
Peter sums up everything that he has written so far.
1 Peter 3:8  To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
1 Peter 3:9  not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Honor, then is to be given one to another in humility, in brotherly love and in blessing each other in the fear of God.  This is required from all Christians.

What 1 Peter 3:5, 6 does not say:

1.  Peter doesn’t say that the husband is the wife’s  master. As Christians, we have only one Lord and Master, and that is Jesus.

1 Corinthians 8:6  yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

2.  Peter does not say that the husband has authority over the wife. Instead of being slaves of other humans, Peter shows that all Christians are free in the spirit and have the ability to have self-determination, yet that self-determination is not to be used for evil.

3.  The wife is never said to be the bond-servant of the husband. A bondslave (or bondservant means one who serves in obedience to another’s will.) A wife is never said to be one who serves in obedience to her husband’s will.  Rather than being subject to her husband’s will, the wife has self-determination by owning her own will and she is not to be intimidated by her husband.  Instead, she is to freely serve him by doing good for him as an active service to her Lord.  The difference is free-will service, not bondage.
In conclusion, we should not see in 1 Peter 3:5, 6 as a husband taking over the will of his wife so that her use of her gifts of leadership in the church, would actually be her husband controlling her decisions.  There is simply no way that we can take this passage as the husband controlling his wife’s decisions.  She is the one who as a fellow heir of God also has self-determination, and as one who is equally made in the image of God, she is able to exercise her God-given gifts by her own will submitted to Christ.  This passage does not prove that women cannot serve in leadership any more than it proves that men cannot serve in leadership because they are told to honor their wives.

93 thoughts on “1 Peter 3:6 how does Sarah’s obedience affect women in ministry?

  1. Just a couple observations…

    I think we really need to emphasize 3:1 since it gives the reason for a wife’s submission: to win over unbelieving husbands. This is not directed to Christian men at all! I also bristle at the translation of hagnen as “chaste” instead of “pure”. The English word “chaste” is, curiously enough, only ever used for women in our translations, implying sexual purity. But the Greek word means inward purity, as it would for any man. Peter is not enjoining the wife’s sexual purity, as this was expected and demanded in society. How would being “chaste” be a way to win over a husband who already expected it from any pagan wife? Peter adds the importance of inner qualities of character, which truly were unexpected of women in that culture.

    As for verse 5, I’m not convinced that it’s in the past tense. The tense is aorist, which only denotes a point in time not necessarily in the past. The other verbs are in the present tense. I understand it as “For this is how holy women rely on God, outfitting themselves with support for their own husbands…”

    Regarding Sarah calling Abraham ‘lord’, she only ever used it in derision, in Gen. 18:12, where she thought to herself, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” In Gen. 16:5 she clearly stood up to Abraham and called God as a witness between the two of them. And we can’t forget that Abraham had tried on two occasions to pass her off as his sister (Gen. 12:12-13, 20:2). So what is Peter saying? That Christian women are like Sarah when they do what is right and do not give in to fear. Sarah clearly had no fear of Abraham, social norms notwithstanding.

    So overall, I see the emphasis not on subservience but on inner strength, on depth of character.

  2. In 1 Peter 3:1, ‘so that if any of them….’ I understand this to mean that some of the women are married to unbelievers, though not all. The ‘if any’ seems to suggest to me that some might not be unsaved husbands.

  3. Good question and observation, TS. But I still think it means only unbelieving husbands.

    Peter is giving the reason for the wordless witness. Why would a saved husband need a witness at all? In other words, if we think this through, this wouldn’t make much sense:

    If all Christian wives are submissive to their husbands, the lost husbands will take note and be converted.

    See what I’m saying?

  4. Paula, yes, I do see what you are saying and it does make sense because we know saved husbands wouldn’t need the witness. I guess it is the ‘if’ wording that seems awkward somehow since it seems to address a dual audience of wives married to non-believers and wives married to believers simply by virtue of the ‘if’. No doubt the conduct of other wives (including those of believing husbands) has an impact on the unbelieving husbands who may be observing all of this wifely behavior.

  5. I think it’s the combination of the “if” with “any”. Yes it could possibly mean that the unbelieving husbands will not the behavior of all believing wives, yet I don’t think Peter is addressing groups here, but only couples. The word I’m keying on for this is “own”. Peter says to Christian wives, “Be subject to your own husbands…”, which I think gives it a more restricted scope. Just my opinion. 🙂

  6. I am all a twitter! This is great dialog.

    My take on the context and Sarah’s example follows Paula’s a little, with some of truthseekers insight included. Let me lay it out.

    I love Cheryl’s synopsis of the overall context of 1 Peter leading up to Chapter 3. I agree very much. But I also do believe that the first part of Chapter three, while continuing with the general thoughts, again addresses specific marital concerns. I also agree with truthseeker that “unbelieving” may have a broader idea in mind, and that is of any husband whose behavior is “unscrupulous, unfair or dishonest”, whether he is a Christian or not. So, when we get to Sarah, I believe her example is specifically associated with those times where Abraham was “unscrupulous, unfair or dishonest” – times Paula very rightly points out. So, when did Sarah “listen” to Abraham and treat him as a superior at a time he was behaving badly? It was when he tried to prostitute her to save his own skin. At no other time was Sarah MORE respectful and honoring when she had every right to be otherwise. It was in those circumstances where Sarah’s example is doubly meaningful where “unbelieving” husbands are concerned.

    There are so many great things about this passage. Some other observations.

    Peter, like Paul, especially in 1 Timothy and Ephesians, does a great job of setting up the general principals and then applying them in the nitty gritty of life. Wow!

    Sarah’s example alludes to the Proverbs 31 woman, who’s “value” or “praiseworthiness” is not wrapped up in outward looks and charm, but in her fear of God.

    The instructions to husbands have an eerie parallel to Malachi 2:13-17. Although many focus on “I hate divorce”, and rightly so, the other message in that section is that if you treat your wife poorly, if you do not honor her and “live with her in an understanding way”, your prayers will not be heard.

    I am not fond of the translation of “honor” in 1 Peter 3:7 because that English word is very closely related to “respect”. Of course, “respectful” isn’t the best translation for phobos in verse 2 either. The two Greek words are quite different, far more than our English translations reveal. I would prefer “reverential” in vs. 2 and “cherish” or “value” or something along those lines in vs. 7.

    Of course “weaker” in vs. 7 always raises some eyebrows. I’m not sure there is a way around that one. I’m sure Peter’s meaning goes deeper than physical strength but also is in no way degrading.

    Verse 7, while being the only verse addressed to husbands, is still full of meaning. Most importantly, it completes obliterates any thought that male “rule” is somehow godly design.

    Anyway, those are some of my thoughts.

  7. Was just looking at scripture for all and it seems to indicate the Christian status of the husband is not the issue. The literal translation in scripture for all is:

    “likewise wives being-subject to-the own husbands that also if any-men are-being-stubborn to-the word…”

    It implies, in my opinion, that the men are not so much unbelieving but are rebelling or back-sliding. In fact, “unbelieving” seems to be quite a bad translation (the KJV has it as “if any obey not the word”.) This further supports the notion that the specific window into Abraham and Sarah’s life is a point in time where he is “being stubborn to the word”. It elevates the example that Sarah is setting – how much greater is her reverence and inner purity, not to mention plain patience, if she is dealing with an Abraham who is behaving very badly – and puts it in line with the other examples of submission, obedience, and respect that Peter has preceeded this passage with.

  8. Good thoughts, gengwall. But I have noticed that in the Greek the term “stubborn to the word” is used frequently in contexts concerning the lost, and can’t think offhand of any where the context is clearly about backslidden believers. I’ll have to check on that sometime to be sure though.

    But yeah, where translators get “obey not” is mystifying… unless you know that the primary motivating factor for the KJV was to make it as king-centered and authority-focused as possible. 😉

  9. Hey guys,
    I am taking the day off so I won’t be able to answer anything here until probably tomorrow. It is my 37th wedding anniversary today and I am going to enjoy my husband and give him my full attention (with great love and respect as I receive his love and honor). I never thought of it before, but perhaps my post on the relationship in marriage was a good one in time for my own celebration. Have fun commenting. I will be posing some interesting questions when I get on line next time in this very thread.

    🙂 Cheryl

  10. Hi, all:

    Regular reader, but don’t post…I’d sent the below right to Cheryl and she thought it was worth posting in the comments, so here it is:

    “That 1 Peter post was a terrific explanation, Cheryl, and shows me that I’ve been on the right track for a number of years now. As a brief testimony, I used to be a prairie-muffin wannabe and my household was falling to pieces as my husband grew farther and farther away from the God he was once marginally interested in. Through a series of truly severe trials, I realized that just letting hubby run the roost was doing some tremendous damage. So, I took “does him no harm” from Proverbs 31 into account and followed that, because I realized by not doing what needed done, I was doing him harm. I gathered my courage, stepped in and said “That’s it, it all stops–now”. Of course, the rigid women-squashers would have been hyperventilating, but Abba had already removed me from that to an extent so I was able to accomplish this. It largely became an unconscious trade-off of sorts on his part…he told me to dump the jumper-dress gig and wear some warpaint (makeup) once in a while. Once I did that, he began making every effort to clean up his act, too.

    Guess what? We have a far happier, give-and-take marriage now than we did five years ago. He’s a community leader in several areas and often comes to me on things I have more ability in than he does. Unfortunately, due to a death in the family, my husband hates God worse than ever for “murdering” that person, and can not be made to see reason through any means, but he’s highly respectful of my strengthened faith through the same death. In the end, I realize his “act clean up” is solely in the flesh and anything could set him back, but so far the Lord has chosen to be very kind and keep him moving forward. For my part, I just keep showing him all the forms of respect he needs from me, and I of course pray for him–after all, it’s not over until the dirt gets shoveled!

    Thanks so much for all your work…

    Kim :-)”

  11. That is a great testimony Kim, and very true to Sarah’s example I believe. Be of good cheer – God has amazing ways of grabbing hold of people when we least expect it.

  12. Kim, Thanks so much for this. Keep up the good fight for his salvation. I have a cousin in the same type situation and after 20 years of prayers, her husband ,one Sunday, shocked her by telling her he wanted to be saved. OUt of no where. She had stopped even discussing such things with him long before and just sought her own relationship with Jesus Christ and took her kids to church and was quite active. During those years, she was a loving, smart and exciting wife to him while she prayed her heart out for him.

  13. Hi everyone! I have been reading along for a few days and have been very interested in the discussion. I am based in Sydney, Australia in a denomination that is very complementarian and have found the posts and the comments here very encouraging! I love the way you are all grappling with the truth.

    Thanks for this post Cheryl. I love that little thing called context that helps us understand passages such as this the way they were intended.

    Dave

  14. Dave,
    Welcome to my blog! Yes context is the most important thing that many miss when they quote scripture. It is my intention to always emphasize the context so that we can all understand what was written.

  15. Paula #1,
    I disagree that the only reason for the wife’s submission is to win over an unsaved husband. 1 Peter 3:1 starts with literally “in like manner” linking it to what has previously been said. I think that the real problem here is not with submission but with what submission means. I had not really intended to go into the issue of marriage, but it seems like this is the direction I am being pulled and so I will submit. I will definitely have to do a post about what submission is and what it isn’t. We have too many wrong ideas about submission that taint the whole point of Christian submission. The whole reality is that submission is to be a Christian lifestyle which is really what Peter brings up. Submission isn’t “attached” to women. It is “attached” to Christ and Christianity. However because there are so many wrong teachings on what submission is, many people bristle when the word is even mentioned because the picture they have is of a doormat on one side and a domineering male on the other. There is nothing further from the truth. The Christian concept of submission has been maligned, misrepresented and buried under a mountain of half-truths. I believe that once we truly understand the biblical concept of submission, it will help us to lay aside our prejudices. More on that later.

    Back to 1 Peter 3:1. While the submission is given with the purpose or goal of winning the husband, the complete context of 1 Peter shows that all of us are to be in service to others.

    You are certainly right in that the word translated “chaste” is better translated as “pure”. About this word the Theological dictionary of the New Testament says:

    It originally signifies “that which awakens religious awe.”

    And the Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament says:

    of persons, as characterized by moral purity pure, free from sin (1T 5.22); as being without intent to do wrong in a matter innocent, blameless

    I love the “without intent to do wrong in a matter” because the whole point of submission is to do what is beneficial for another person. (More on that later).

    You said:

    As for verse 5, I’m not convinced that it’s in the past tense. The tense is aorist, which only denotes a point in time not necessarily in the past. The other verbs are in the present tense. I understand it as “For this is how holy women rely on God, outfitting themselves with support for their own husbands…”

    I agree. The verbs are in the present tense so the “holy women” are those who are presently hoping in God. I also like your use of the term “support” for this is a key to what submission entails.

    I disagree with this:

    Regarding Sarah calling Abraham ‘lord’, she only ever used it in derision, in Gen. 18:12, where she thought to herself, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

    While Sarah was laughing to herself, I do not believe that the term “lord” was used in derision. I believe that it was used in the way she was in a habit of referring to Abraham. In other words she had great respect for Abraham as a man of God and as her husband and partner.

    So what is Peter saying? That Christian women are like Sarah when they do what is right and do not give in to fear. Sarah clearly had no fear of Abraham, social norms notwithstanding.

    This is true although I think you have missed the fact that Peter shows that Sarah spoke of Abraham with respect. I do not believe that Peter is insisting that wives call their husbands “lord” but I do believe that Peter is referring to this as Sarah’s way of honoring her husband.

    I also believe that husbands flourish under their wive’s respect and even more so when she gives him public respect. We all need respect, but men seem to have a special need perhaps because they have a tender ego.

    Recently I saw a wife give her husband public disrespect and I saw the clear look of pain on his face. She was just trying to be funny, but she put him down in front of about 40 people. Her husband made a reply and I can’t remember exactly what he said but it was something about having the ability to ignore what she said. How much better it would have been had she publicly held her husband up to honor. Everyone else was honoring her husband and so she felt that she could dishonor him and lift herself up. But honestly, I saw it as dishonoring both of them – him for what she said and her for the mere fact that she displayed a disrespectful attitude in public. Had she honored her husband in public, he would have felt a greater love for her for what she did for him. That is my opinion, but I do think that scripture backs me up on that as well.

    So overall, I see the emphasis not on subservience but on inner strength, on depth of character.

    This is where I think so many go wrong in equating submission with subservience. Subservience is by definition to mean excessively submissive and acting in a subordinate capacity. I do not believe this is the biblical meaning of submission.

  16. #2 Truthseeker,

    In 1 Peter 3:1, ’so that if any of them….’ I understand this to mean that some of the women are married to unbelievers, though not all. The ‘if any’ seems to suggest to me that some might not be unsaved husbands.

    You are correct. Peter defines his own terms and once again context is key. Obedience to the word or obedience to the gospel is used as a synonym for the unbeliever. See 1 Peter 4:17.

    1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    I also agree that Peter is telling all women to have an attitude of support (submission) to their husbands. It isn’t just the women who have unbelieving husbands who are to receive her submission but the ones who are not believers are especially able to see her godly behavior in contrast to the behavior of the women of the world.

  17. Cheryl,

    First let me clarify that I have no issues with “submit”; I know what it does and doesn’t mean, so that did not factor into my view of this passage at all. While there are indeed many who base an argument on a flawed understanding of a word, that isn’t the case here. And in turn, presuming this was my motive could have colored your response as well.

    Of course you know also that I believe the Bible teaches mutual submission, such that Christian women are told to support Christian men, and vice versa. But, as you mentioned (… submission is given with the purpose or goal of winning the husband…), and that is Peter’s focus. A Christian wife of a non-Christian husband had a tough job, because she often could not say a word to him about religious matters. Her actions were her only witness, and such actions went beyond the norm for the society, which considered women to lack the depth of character Peter encourages here.

    As for Sarah, I think the OT shows both from Abraham’s actions and Sarah’s demands on him concerning Hagar that she did not hesitate to openly scold him at times. And since both husbands and wives are to respect each other, especially in public, the wife is under no greater constraint than the husband. So Peter is not giving all Christian wives a more restricted range of behavior than husbands, but advising believing wives on how to achieve the difficult task of witnessing to unbelieving husbands. It was a delicate balance, much like the head covering issue. And again, my interpretation is not driven by fear of the word “lord”; I am well familiar with its usage.

  18. #3 Paula,
    You said:

    Peter is giving the reason for the wordless witness. Why would a saved husband need a witness at all? In other words, if we think this through, this wouldn’t make much sense:

    If all Christian wives are submissive to their husbands, the lost husbands will take note and be converted.

    I believe that it does make sense if we say that all Christian wives are to have an attitude of submission (just as Jesus had an attitude of submission) and if some husbands are unsaved, this attitude of their wives will cause them to take note and it may bring them to the Lord. That makes perfect sense to me.

    I think it’s the combination of the “if” with “any”. Yes it could possibly mean that the unbelieving husbands will not the behavior of all believing wives, yet I don’t think Peter is addressing groups here, but only couples. The word I’m keying on for this is “own”. Peter says to Christian wives, “Be subject to your own husbands…”, which I think gives it a more restricted scope. Just my opinion.

    In this verse Peter is definitely only addressing the wives and he does say “your own husbands” which makes this attitude of submission a particular attitude towards only one man, but the general message of service that is attached with the term “likewise, or in like manner”, refers to all Christians.

  19. #6 gengwall,

    I also agree with truthseeker that “unbelieving” may have a broader idea in mind, and that is of any husband whose behavior is “unscrupulous, unfair or dishonest”, whether he is a Christian or not.

    I can heartily agree with this! There are many men who are saved but in essence they are not “obedient to the word”. For example men are called to initiate a sacrificial attitude (even all of us are to serve one another), but if the husband refuses to love his wife as Christ loves the church, she can refrain from responding to his lack of sacrificial love with a negative reaction. She can chose to model a proper Christian attitude and lead by example. This godly example may spur her husband onto a godly response and while he may fail to lead in a sacrificial love, he may get there through seeing her model a Christlike spirit.

    You said:

    So, when did Sarah “listen” to Abraham and treat him as a superior at a time he was behaving badly?

    First of all Sarah called Abraham “lord” in her own mind as she thought about her inability to have a child. Secondly I do not believe that Christian submission means treating a person as a “superior”. After all we are all brothers in Christ and we are to treat each other as brothers. Treating one another as “superiors” seems to me to be against our unity in the brotherhood. Perhaps a better word would be “respect”. We can treat each other with “respect” without treating another as being a “superior”. The idea of superiority was got many in trouble as they divided over the lines between “clergy” and “laity”. This separates the sheep when we are to be brothers.

    At no other time was Sarah MORE respectful and honoring when she had every right to be otherwise. It was in those circumstances where Sarah’s example is doubly meaningful where “unbelieving” husbands are concerned.

    I agree. However I wonder if Sarah should have stood up to her husband in these times when he wanted to have her pass as his sister and it nearly got her married off to another man. It seems to me that Abraham at those times was walking in the fear of man more than the fear of God. But then who am I to judge? I am not living in the treacherous times as they did.

    Sarah’s example alludes to the Proverbs 31 woman, who’s “value” or “praiseworthiness” is not wrapped up in outward looks and charm, but in her fear of God.

    Amen!

    The instructions to husbands have an eerie parallel to Malachi 2:13-17. Although many focus on “I hate divorce”, and rightly so, the other message in that section is that if you treat your wife poorly, if you do not honor her and “live with her in an understanding way”, your prayers will not be heard.

    A double amen!!

    I am not fond of the translation of “honor” in 1 Peter 3:7 because that English word is very closely related to “respect”… I would prefer “reverential” in vs. 2 and “cherish” or “value” or something along those lines in vs. 7.

    The word used as “honor” in 1 Peter 3:7 is basically, the worth ascribed to a person or the value ascribed to a thing – Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament. In the active form it means honor, reverence, respect. It certainly could mean to cherish because of the value of a person. The respect in verse 2 means:
    Fear, terror, reverence, respect, honor. Reverential would also be a good term for word in verse 2.

    Verse 7, while being the only verse addressed to husbands, is still full of meaning. Most importantly, it completes obliterates any thought that male “rule” is somehow godly design.

    Excellent thoughts!

  20. “I also believe that husbands flourish under their wive’s respect and even more so when she gives him public respect. We all need respect, but men seem to have a special need perhaps because they have a tender ego.”

    What gives you the idea they have a special need for respect any more than a wife does? I have never understood this line of thinking. It is dangerously close to the thinking that women are more easily deceived. It does not seem to have a basis in scripture and actually makes men appear to be weaker because it is taught they ‘need’ this.

    As a matter of fact, I have found that men who publicly respect their wives are more respected by others. they are viewed as strong and are not diminished by doing so.

  21. I agree, Lin. To say Peter is giving Christian wives a more stringent level of respect for their husbands than the other way around is to agree that men need more respect than women. It would mean he was catering to society, while Paul in contrast left cultural issues like head coverings up to the women to decide.

    I would think that when it comes to unbelievers observing the whole Christian community, the greater and stronger witness would be for the men to respect the women.

  22. #18 Paula,

    First let me clarify that I have no issues with “submit”; I know what it does and doesn’t mean, so that did not factor into my view of this passage at all

    Thanks for clarifying!

    A Christian wife of a non-Christian husband had a tough job, because she often could not say a word to him about religious matters. Her actions were her only witness, and such actions went beyond the norm for the society, which considered women to lack the depth of character Peter encourages here.

    Very well said!

    As for Sarah, I think the OT shows both from Abraham’s actions and Sarah’s demands on him concerning Hagar that she did not hesitate to openly scold him at times.

    While you may be right, I see Sarah’s demand not as scolding but as a command that God affirmed was a righteous command when he told Abraham to obey her.

    So Peter is not giving all Christian wives a more restricted range of behavior than husbands, but advising believing wives on how to achieve the difficult task of witnessing to unbelieving husbands.

    I would not say at all that Peter is giving Christian wives a more restricted range of behavior. I think that he is reminding all wives that the Christian attitude of submission is due even to their husbands (in the teaching of Christian freedom which is the other side of the coin and which Peter also touches on with the issue of self-determination, many women would naturally want to reject supporting their husbands and treating them with respect since most if not all likely followed the “I rule you drool” “manly” way of taking male privilege) and due even to unbelieving husbands. The purpose of aiding unbelieving husbands to come to faith in Christ is there in the passage but it also follows the term “in like manner” which clearly shows that this is a Christian attitude and way of life, not just a woman’s attitude and way of life.

    And again, my interpretation is not driven by fear of the word “lord”; I am well familiar with its usage.

    This part I didn’t pick up from your comments. It seemed to me that you were looking at the term “lord” as almost a mocking term since it was said to be used in derision. I think that threw me off.

  23. #21 Lin,

    What gives you the idea they have a special need for respect any more than a wife does? I have never understood this line of thinking. It is dangerously close to the thinking that women are more easily deceived. It does not seem to have a basis in scripture and actually makes men appear to be weaker because it is taught they ‘need’ this.

    What I mean is that a man has a “tender” ego that can be easily shattered. Women on the other hand tend to be able to bounce back more easily from disrespect. It is not that men have more of a need to be respected. I think that all people have a need to be respected. But men typically have a really big ego that has a thin shell covering it. A man’s ego can be large but it can be deflated easily. Often a critical word spoken that would be easily taken by a woman without much harm will critically wound a man. Speak critically to a man during love making and it will become clear that he has a tender ego. Does this make a man “weaker” than a woman? I would like to be gracious in saying that it really makes a man “different” than a woman. Now I realize that not all men fit the “norm” just as not all women fit the “norm” either. God made all of us unique. But on the whole men’s egos (although they can be excessively large) do not handle criticism as well. Perhaps some man reading this may confirm whether I am understanding this issue in the right way.

    As a matter of fact, I have found that men who publicly respect their wives are more respected by others. they are viewed as strong and are not diminished by doing so.

    I agree absolutely! Whether a wife or a husband, the one who lifts their spouse up instead of criticizing them in public will receive a lot of respect themselves in return.

  24. It seemed to me that you were looking at the term “lord” as almost a mocking term

    I am. This doesn’t have anything to do with the meaning of “lord”, but Sarah’s sarcasm. Just the way I see it (not how I want to see it).

  25. What I mean is that a man has a “tender” ego that can be easily shattered.

    And that is a sin issue, a pride issue. A Christian man has no more need of having his weaknesses catered to than does a woman. Either there is mutuality or there is not. Of course each individual should know and be considerate of the weaknesses of others, per Rom. 14. But this is **not** a male-female issue, it is a person-to-person issue.

    What delicate egos do **not** need is to be protected and pampered. They need to be faced and strengthened.

  26. #22 Paula,

    To say Peter is giving Christian wives a more stringent level of respect for their husbands than the other way around is to agree that men need more respect than women.

    I didn’t say that. Not sure where you are reading past my words, but perhaps is good to clarify. Peter isn’t giving Christian wives a “more stringent” level of respect for their husbands. He is noting that the Christian attitude towards others does not exclude husbands. Women who have been treated as shoe horns for their husbands because of the “I rule, you drool” patriarchical attitude of many of the men may naturally balk at submitting in any way to their husbands because of the way that they have been treated.

    I would think that when it comes to unbelievers observing the whole Christian community, the greater and stronger witness would be for the men to respect the women.

    I am not so sure. For women looking at this respect, yes it would be a great witness. But perhaps men seeing the respect for the women might be seen as a sign of weakness. It may not be considered a “greater witness”. However I have no doubt that in that culture women acting in a godly and supportive way towards their unbelieving husbands would be a strong witness to them.

  27. Cheryl, its nice to have you back in the fray. 🙂

    I, too, agree that respect is something women like/need as much as men. No doubt there are both men and women to be found who need less respect and some who may feel a need for more, if we could measure such things, and it may be a function of other factors as well. Some folk seem to take much heat with little wilting. Others wilt quickly. (heat being disrespect here)

    Likewise, women have often been characterized as wanting/needing security to men’s wanting/needing respect. Again, I think these are general desires of humans. I think it is interesting to note that the ‘love’ chapter in the bible does not differentiate between male and female in its address. We are all to do these ‘love’ things and we all apparently need to receive love in these various forms from one another. Similarly, nearly all the directives in the NT about how we are to live and to treat one another are not directed to specific genders. Nowhere does the bible say anything like ‘women need…’ or ‘men need ….’ The closest possibility is the comment about women being the weaker vessel, yet there is still no mention of them always ‘needing’ a particular thing because of this.

  28. Paula,

    What delicate egos do **not** need is to be protected and pampered. They need to be faced and strengthened.

    I think we may be talking about two different things. I didn’t say that a man’s ego was to be pampered. What I did say was that a man can be harmed in his ego more easily than a woman. We also cannot “fix” another person. But we can be mindful of our respect and not purposely try to harm another human being. I think that was all I was saying. Hopefully I am being understood. Men? Any men out there who would like to jump into the issue of the ego? Come on in. The waters fine. I’ll moderate the comments so that there won’t be any sharks in the water 😉 (not that I have any on my blog anyway!)

  29. a man can be harmed in his ego more easily than a woman
    I disagree. Can the harm to women via society and church be measured? How many women’s spirits have been utterly destroyed, little by little, because we are presumed to have stronger egos? Why is this permissible against only women?

    I know you agree that women have taken this abuse, but that’s why it so puzzles me that you would say that a man’s ego is more delicate, and that women must therefore be more careful of hurting men than they are of hurting women.

  30. truthseeker,
    Thanks for the welcome back! Sometimes I get so busy that I just don’t have time for a lot of back and forth. I will need to go shortly but will try to pop back once in awhile today to see how things are going.

    Similarly, nearly all the directives in the NT about how we are to live and to treat one another are not directed to specific genders. Nowhere does the bible say anything like ‘women need…’ or ‘men need ….’ The closest possibility is the comment about women being the weaker vessel, yet there is still no mention of them always ‘needing’ a particular thing because of this.

    Actually I think that Peter does mention what women need. They need “understanding”. My husband and I have been talking a lot about this and we have found something that works for us. When I need him to be understanding I say first that I need him to just listen and I don’t need him to fix anything. This gives him the ability to relax and not feel like he is to be in the position of a “fixer”. He then can hear me and our conversations are without an unseen blockage that used to be there. He used to see some of our conversations as an “attack”. I could never see how he thought that way, but when I understood that as a man he always felt obligated to “fix” me or whatever we were talking about, he was always on edge and felt inadequate. Now when I assure him that he isn’t being asked to “fix” anything, he is able to give me his understanding by just listening. Does this make sense?

    I, too, agree that respect is something women like/need as much as men.

    I agree. Respect is something that we all need. My emphasis on a man’s tender ego was not meant to say that he needs more respect than a woman does.

  31. Cheryl, thanks for pointing out the ‘understanding’ aspect. That is true, and I had forgotten about that.

  32. Paula,

    How many women’s spirits have been utterly destroyed, little by little, because we are presumed to have stronger egos? Why is this permissible against only women?

    I never said anything about permitting harm against women.

    I know you agree that women have taken this abuse, but that’s why it so puzzles me that you would say that a man’s ego is more delicate, and that women must therefore be more careful of hurting men than they are of hurting women.

    I never said anything about being more careful about hurting a man than hurting a woman. In fact I think that as Christians we should be careful not to hurt anyone. I try my best to be gracious to all and although I am not perfect, I do try my best.

    It appears that you are taking my words and going past what I have said. Perhaps it is time for me to step back and let others respond for awhile. I will check in later today.

  33. Cheryl, all I’m doing is trying to reconcile two statements you made:
    1- a man can be harmed in his ego more easily than a woman
    2- But we can be mindful of our respect and not purposely try to harm another human being

    2 goes both ways but 1 only goes one way. I can’t reconcile those two statements. And I’m taking them on their face, not going beyond them.

  34. “Actually I think that Peter does mention what women need. They need “understanding”. My husband and I have been talking a lot about this and we have found something that works for us. When I need him to be understanding I say first that I need him to just listen and I don’t need him to fix anything.”

    I do not want to be contentious and I hope you know I am just trying to make a point. The above does not describe me at all and I am a woman.

    I get very nervous when we take scripture that has been translated by men and put genders in these categories of what they should ‘feel’. This is one reason I could never relate to the comp books. I was NEVER like the women they described and what they always said women wanted or needed. I would prefer respect over understanding. Just as I would prefer cleaning the toilet over flowers.

    The comps tried to tell me for years I was in rebellion because I did not fit those categories. There was always something wrong with me.

    In verse 1 the word ‘respect’ is phobos which means fear or be afraid. The KJV actually translates it as fear. 1st Century women married to unbelievers had reason to fear them.

    I think culture plays a big part in understanding this passage. These are women who had NO respect at all from men and would need understanding.

  35. Lin,

    I do not want to be contentious and I hope you know I am just trying to make a point. The above does not describe me at all and I am a woman.

    Yes, I am glad that you brought this up. It certainly does not apply to everyone just like Peter’s words do not apply to every woman. Peter said that the woman is the “weaker vessel” literally the “powerless container”, it doesn’t mean that every woman is physically weaker than every man. Some woman are bigger and have bigger muscles than some men, but generally speaking women are physically weaker. My words were of a general nature.

    I do know about exceptions. I am one of those exceptions. When I first started studying how to witness to the cults and I was able to do the work of witnessing and explain the scriptures so that others could also understand, I was seen as an oddity. I was even told that some men were afraid of me. I guess they were not open enough to understand that the gifts are gender-neutral and that no one should be afraid of one of God’s gifts.

    I get very nervous when we take scripture that has been translated by men and put genders in these categories of what they should ‘feel’.

    I hope that I haven’t done that. I haven’t meant to. I was expressing my understanding and my experience in general terms not meant to put someone in a box nor to assign certain feelings to one gender or another. My own husband is one of those men who is very in touch with his emotions. Some are very taken aback by the emotions that he shows on his face. But I like him like the way he is. His emotions do not scare me and I would much rather have a man that is extra emotional (he is more so than I am) than a man who has little to no emotions and who is unable to emotionally bond.

    I would prefer respect over understanding. Just as I would prefer cleaning the toilet over flowers.

    I am about even-even. And I prefer flowers over toilets but I also prefer a deep-level theological discussion over a discussion about flowers any day. I never go to the doctor or dentist without a theological book in hand because I bore easily just reading women’s magazines.

    The comps tried to tell me for years I was in rebellion because I did not fit those categories. There was always something wrong with me.

    Well, they are just plain wrong. There is no one-shoe-fits-all category. You and I and Paula and a few others are in a category that doesn’t have a whole lot of women in it, but we are real women nevertheless.

    I think culture plays a big part in understanding this passage. These are women who had NO respect at all from men and would need understanding.

    I agree that these women had no respect in that culture. But I don’t think this is the kind of understanding that Peter is getting at. The terms that Peter uses is to “live together with” the wife “with perception, comprehension”

    In the Theological dictionary of the New Testament this word for “understanding” denotes in ordinary Greek the intelligent comprehension of an object or matter, whether this comes for the first time, or comes afresh, into the consideration of the one who grasps it (“to come to know,” “to experience,” “to perceive [again]”)

    I take this to mean that the man is to live intimately with his wife in such a way that he comes to experience who she is as a person and he is to consider that she is weaker physically so that he doesn’t put on her an expectation that is beyond her physically. In some countries the man supervises while his wife plows the field. I don’t think this would be considered a respectful thing by Peter.

    It is very good to express these kinds of thoughts so that we can hash out our differences and perhaps come to a better understanding of what the scriptures are saying and how we can apply them in our day and with women who do not fit the general mold.

  36. #34 Paula,

    Cheryl, all I’m doing is trying to reconcile two statements you made:
    1- a man can be harmed in his ego more easily than a woman
    2- But we can be mindful of our respect and not purposely try to harm another human being

    2 goes both ways but 1 only goes one way. I can’t reconcile those two statements. And I’m taking them on their face, not going beyond them.

    I do believe that a man’s ego is usually more fragile than a woman’s just as I also believe that a man’s ego is usually much larger than a woman’s. I have seen exceptions as I have seen women with large egos. These women with large egos also tend to have fragile egos too come to think of it. But for the most part, it is the men who have out-in-front egos. At the same time it was never my intention to say that it would be okay to walk all over a woman’s ego just because she may not be hurt as easily. Some women do take offense very easily and I could be wrong, but these women seem to be the exceptions to the general rule. Perhaps raising kids makes us more even keel 😉

    Now as far as going beyond my statements, what I said should not mean that I say that it is okay at all to take advantage of a woman and not care about her ego. What I do try to do with men who have fragile egos or women or are more easily offended is to try to allow them a way to “save face”. Again, I may not be perfect, but I am not interested in publicly shaming anyone and if I realize that this may be what is happening, I try to back off.

    I hope this helps!

  37. Wow – am I late to the party. This discussion is great and I don’t want to get too far into gender wars. On the other hand, being the token male here (right now), I suspect and hope my perspective will lend some clarity (or, more likely, fuel).

    Please keep in mind this is what is generally true…..

    I am sure you have all heard of the “Love and Respect” books and ministry of Emerson Eggerichs. He makes a simple observation and backs it up not only with science but more importantly with Paul’s and Peter’s specific, but separate instructions to husbands and wives. Here is the observation:

    Men have a felt need for respect like women have a felt need for love.

    He illustrates this in a very simple way. Let us say that a husband or a wife acts harshly toward the other during an argument….

    If you ask 10 men, at least 9 and maybe all 10 would say they felt disrespected by that harsh treatment. More importantly, none of them would be suspect of their wife’s love for them.

    Ask the wives the same question and the same ratio will say they felt unloved.

    It has a lot to do with how we receive and interpret stimuli and how we perceive our own self worth. Men tend to relate to their performance while women tend to relate to their relationships.

    OK – enough for the generalities. In my personal circumstance, what Cheryl relates for her marriage and what Dr. Eggerichs illustrates in his materials is very similar to my experience. Things like “living in an understanding way” with, agapeo loving, and honoring (cherishing) my wife are the things she responds positively to. When I treat her badly, it is in those areas that she feels she has been harmed or betrayed. I on the other hand respond to reverence, submission (and I mean that in the positive way described here), and phileo love. When she treats me badly, while I never doubt her agapeo love for me, I do feel she doesn’t respect or “like” me.

    Although all of us need all of these things, we react differently when those things are withheld. And although Paul and Peter no doubt understand the universal need for honor, love (of all kinds), respect, submission, etc., and the universal obligation we all carry to show those things to others, it is no coincidence that, when speaking to married couples, their instructions in these areas get very gender specific. Husbands are never, in the marital context, directly instructed to hupotasso (submit), phobeo (reverence, i.e. respect), or phileo (friendship love) their wives. But wives are specifically instructed to do so to their husbands. Yet we all need and are obligated to do these things. Conversely, wives are never instructed to abide in gnosis (knowledge, understanding), time (honor, cherish), or agapeo (selflessly love) their husbands. But husbands are specifically instructed to do so to their wives. Yet again, we all need and are obligated to do these things.

    Now, either Peter and Paul had a serious gender bias, were off their rockers, or were on to something. More on that later (right Cheryl 🙂 ), but these specific gender based instructions can’t simply be brushed aside because we all need and are to show love, respect, submission, etc.

  38. “I am sure you have all heard of the “Love and Respect” books and ministry of Emerson Eggerichs. He makes a simple observation and backs it up not only with science but more importantly with Paul’s and Peter’s specific, but separate instructions to husbands and wives. Here is the observation:”

    I hate to burst your bubble but Eggerich misquoted ‘from that scientific study. He was not honest. He forced his presupposition to fit the study. As a matter of fact, he totally misrepresented the study and left out the crucial finding that negated his theme for the books.

    “This demonstrates that Gottman was misquoted by Emerson Eggerich and that there is no social science or scientific support for the notion that “men need respect and women need love.” In fact, Gottman and Murray’s detailed longtitudinal study demonstrates that marital success is dependent on love and respect demonstrated in a totally symmetrical fashion.”

    I went and watched the presentation of the Mathmatics of Marriage at the Royal Academy and she is right. Eggerich was dishonest.

    Another point to make on Eggerich is that he and others never linked to the study. That is always a telling sign. (CBMW is notorious for doing this). They don’t want us checking things out.

    Here are some links about it. http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/search?q=eggerich

  39. I don’t know about the study as it has not been on my radar. I do know about me and lots of others who are like me. The only time I have not felt respected by my husband is when he puts me down in public, which to his credit he rarely does. Every other time when we have had problems it isn’t with respect. It is because he has done something that has made me feel like I am not loved.

    However to save the peace let’s agree that love and respect are fairly close to one another. Most women lean towards the love end (but not all) and most men lean towards the respect end (but not all). But they are closely related so that they do go together.

  40. Actually, I only vaguely noted that he referenced science. His main point, and mine, is that both Peter and Paul are very gender specific in their instructions to married couples.

    A much better book in terms of the science and gender based felt needs is “his Brain, Her Brain”, by Walt and Barb Larimore. On the secular reading list, with even more reference to peer reviewed studies, is “Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps” by Allan and Barbara Pease. Of course, they don’t cite Peter and Paul, even though they come to the same conclusions.

  41. I sense Cheryl’s desire to move on, so I will say no more on this point other than, “I agree with Cheryl”.

    Back to Sarah’s respecting of Abraham. Here is how I see it. The general context is women showing respect when their husbands are behaving badly. The broad context is people showing respect when anyone is behaving badly – governments, masters, etc. So, it makes little sense to me to hold Sarah up as an example if the context in Sarah’s life is when Abraham is behaving as a loving, believing husband. Therefore, I have to conclude that Sarah is being put up as an example for those times when Abraham behaved badly, especially and aprticularly toward her. Those times when he passed her off as his sister meet all the criteria – not only was that completely unloving of him toward her (and certainly disrespectful too), but he was being disobedient to the word (or, in the OT case, the law) by bearing false witness. This is also a time when Sarah obeyed him (harkened to his word) in apparent silence.

    As far as addressing him as “lord” it may be as Cheryl suggests, simply the general way she referred to him. My use of “superior” earlier, while probably a bad choice of words, was in reference to the way she would have addressed him in that bad situation, i.e. as her older brother. Certainly the older brother in a brother sister relationship in that time would have received the title of “lord” from his younger female sibling. In fact, it strikes me that to not have called him “lord” would have raised suspicion about her true identity in relation to Abraham. So that too fits the scenario, although it is not testified to in scripture. As such, tying “my lord” into the prostituting activity is a stretch. But everything else seems to fall right into place and match up perfectly with the general message Peter is trying to convey.

  42. “However to save the peace let’s agree that love and respect are fairly close to one another. Most women lean towards the love end (but not all) and most men lean towards the respect end (but not all). But they are closely related so that they do go together.”

    Actually, this whole topic speaks to women in ministry and I think it negates your teaching that women are fully capable in all respects to teach the Word.

    If there are clear ‘God ordained’ gender differences in emotions, thinking, intellect, etc., then the comps have a good point that women are more easily deceived and lack proper leadership skills.

    Both Paul and Peter lived in the 1st Century where women could not work to make a living, were uneducated and given in marriage in their teens usually to a man much older. They had no social status and could make hardly any decisions about themselves. I think they are giving advice on how to live as Christians in that culture.

    Eggerich misquoted the study to prop up his presupposition of hierarchy in marriage using science. He was dishonest. But he sold a lot of books. This is another reason I am so opposed to comp books telling us how to live and how we should think and feel as men and women.

    The study actually confirmed that marriages of equality in ALL respects were the happiest and most successful.

    All books on gender are good sellers. We want to understand one another because SIN drove us apart. We want formulas and roles to play out. But maybe we should consider that it is our sin. I want respect and I realize how narcissitic that is of me. My Lord got very little respect while He was walking this earth.But in Christ, we should not have to focus on this stuff. In Christ, there is no male or female.

    And if we go back to the Garden, show me where Eve needed love and not respect? Or show me where Adam needed respect more than love. It is silly to even think about it because there was NO sin there. That is where we need to be headed and that begins within us as a work of the Holy Spirit.

    I will bow out. But I think this focus is very dangerous and props up the comp argument in saying there is a reason God did not want women teaching men.

  43. Hi, again:

    Thanks to those who took the time to make a kind comment about my original post–this passage has long been one I’ve looked at with a furrowed eyebrow, so I’ve been watching the continued discussion, and while I cannot come at things with the scholarly point of view because that’s not my strength, I can share that the raw data of life experience tells me that when the dictionaries and study books are put back on the shelf, it all comes down to the art of truly knowing another person and voluntarily entering into those areas where they need supported, encouraged and helped.

    In marriage, it’s all about what you and your earthly partner see in each other, and in love, rise to help meet (if weakness) or encourage (if strength) or guide (if the trail marker was obviously missed a few steps back)…after all, is that not what Abba does for each one of us? The real problem is that we’re human and therefore frail, prone to both misdiagnosing things as an observer and resisting needed help, usually causing gears to grind…and then someone writes another self-help book! 🙂

    Kim 🙂

  44. Lin – with respect (no pun intended), you are reading past what Cheryl, I, and even Eggerich are saying. We all believe and understand that the needs for love, respect, etc. are on equal footing across the human spectrum. Eggerichs is not talking about real need, he is talking about felt deprivation of need. His citing of Gottman and Murray does not counter their conclusion, it confirms it. (BTW – have Gottman and Murray claimed he lied, or is this just some blogger’s opinion?) If anything, the posts at Suzanne’s Bookshelf grossly misquote and misinterpret Eggerich. But we are not here to debate that blog.

    But, your concern is valid because if the apostles were indeed setting up a situation where real needs differed, then hierarchy could be a conclusion (and has been the conclusion) some may come to. Let me see if I can summarize – some would interpret Paul and Peter’s instructions to indicate that women are emotional wrecks that are easily deceived and men are the strong logical Rodney Dangerfield’s of the race who are only “looking for a little respect”. Of course, many people draw those conclusions. But as Cheryl repeatedly points out, they do it in a vacuum which is absent of any context. When one considers the complete message of these apostles, especially Paul, it is clear that they are not just “preaching to the (culturally bound) choir”. In fact, they are preaching completely outside the box within that culture. Equality of needs, as expressed through the equality of obligations for the Christian, is rampant through the teaching. There is no reason to conclude that that equality stops at the front door of a household and a completely new paradigm emerges within marriage. The needs and obligations of the individual Christian within marriage do not differ from those outside.

    But, despite that truth regarding real needs and obligations, marriage does have a dynamic that differs from other relationships. It is good you bring up Adam and Eve and their pre-fall state. It is very true that prior to the fall and their eyes being opened to all the ways two people can hurt each other, there was no need for gender based instruction because there was no existence of felt or real needs being denied. But after the fall, things became very different, including the way in which Adam and Eve interpreted and reacted to harmful words and actions of their spouse. Apparently, those interpretations and reactions, what each gender felt was being denied to them in terms of needs, were different.

    Now, of course, I could be wrong, but I think Paul and Peter back me up. If not why, did they never say “wives agapeo your husbands as Christ does the church”, or even the more generic “wives and husbands agapeo each other”. It doesn’t mean at all that wives and husbands are NOT supposed to selflessly love each other in equal measure. But wives naturally love and so they don’t need to be instructed to do so. Men, on the other hand, naturally “rule”, which is very selfish and unloving. So, although we know we need to love everyone without regard to our own needs, when it comes to our wives, we need an extra kick in the pants to remind us because of our fleshly nature, as a result of the fall, toward our wives.

    OK – so, I don’t see how any of that sets up hierarchy in marriage or how any hierarchy translates to the body. I believe you draw a false conclusion:

    “If there are clear ‘God ordained’ gender differences in emotions, thinking, intellect, etc., then the comps have a good point that women are more easily deceived and lack proper leadership skills.”

    First of all, none of this has anything to do with intellect, leadership skills, or susceptibility to deception. No one, Peter, Paul, Eggerich, or I, are saying anything like that. And differences in thinking and emotions are simply differences – there is nothing inherently good or bad about them. Certainly we recognize that such differences add flavor and depth to any organization. So much so for the church.

    Let me give an example. Let us say for example sake that women are universally more emotional than men. Now, there is trouble even within that statement because “emotionality” would be almost impossible to measure. So lets make it more specific. Lets say that women universally “emote” more than men. (Still troublesome, but at least there is a cultural perception of what “emoting” is). Even if that were true (or even if it were true in general), what makes that “worse” for ministry (or better, for that matter) than less emoting? Nothing that I can see. It isn’t wrong, it isn’t worse, it isn’t inferior, it’s just different. That is why “emoting” or lack thereof is not a requirement for an overseer.

    Again, I want to keep this on topic. Peter’s example here is sound and his sidebar into marriage is very pertinent to church ministry because it avoids hypocracy. One must make certain they conduct their marriage relationship with the same amount of love and respect that they conduct their other relationships. Their obligation to their spouse is the same and the needs of their spouse are the same as their needs. BUT, their spouse may interpret and respond to harmful actions differently than they personally do, and the testimony of the apostles as well as much reseach (Gottman and Murray are not the only ones to have thought this was important) proclaims that there is a gender tilt in that reality. So when dealing with married couples, there needs to be an emphasis on love or respect that is equaly gender specific.

  45. ” His citing of Gottman and Murray does not counter their conclusion, it confirms it. (BTW – have Gottman and Murray claimed he lied, or is this just some blogger’s opinion?) If anything, the posts at Suzanne’s Bookshelf grossly misquote and misinterpret Eggerich. But we are not here to debate that blog.”

    Sorry, I cannot get past this. This is simply NOT true. Eggerich’s whole foundation is authority/submission model (that he believes is taught in Eph 5) to focus on the love/respect teaching. He maps love/respect to authority/submission.

    The Gottman study was based on total equality in marriage. No authority involved. No model of submission. No trump card for decision making. It was not even based on gender! So the whole supporting foundation of the Gottman study was ignored by Eggerich!

    That fact that Eggerich fails to mention this HUGE foundational fact of the study, should concern you. Look, you quoted from the book. I thought you would want to know the truth about the Gottman study. Eggerich teaches hierarchy in marriage. Not equality. Watch the Royal Society lecture. “According to James Murray, their study did not differentiate for gender. I should stop being surprised that the truth has no currency for those who wish to demonstrate that science proves the Bible.”

    And what about the word ‘respect’ in that passage being phobos? That could present a problem for the’ ‘men need respect side’. phobos is where we get our word for phobia.

    Suzanne is not ‘some blogger’. She is a scholar. Her site is a treasure trove for Greek understanding on such words like authenteo and kephale. And I do not agree with her on everything but she does her homework.

  46. Lin:

    I have always enjoyed your posts, and I hope you don’t mind if I point out an opposite reaction to your thoughts that comp folks might take the idea of men and women being inherently different as being a strengthener for their particular viewpoint. I wanted to share what I see: inherent differences are actually going to weaken their argument, because everyone benefits when there is more than one viewpoint on any idea. Who hasn’t experienced hearing the same ol’, same ol’ on a certain topic–then someone comes at it from a completely fresh perspective and we sit back and go “Wow…now that was helpful!” It happens to me on a regular basis. It’s not about brainpower or personal needs…it’s about differences in perspective only.

    And even if they do come at it with a vicious victory shining in their eyes, it’s because they twist the Scriptures to their own prideful designs. I’ve seen it coming for a while now…the renewal of violent male dominance in religion is simply a sign of the times, and now this same spirit is infecting an increasingly public portion of churchianity, along with a growing “men’s movement” in the secular realm that pretends they just want to be allowed to be men, but the barely-there undertone is that they’d like to see women put back into a socially and legally powerless state under their feet.

    Satan does detest women, so it makes sense those who are being influenced by him (willingly or unwittingly) would, as well. All that can be done is to keep up the good fight, as Cheryl and everyone who comments here regularly is doing. I’m grateful for this blog–the education is priceless!

    Kim 🙂

  47. Lin – have you read his books; seen his seminars, or are you just relying on this blog to inform you? I have done both and I can tell you conclusively that he is not teaching a hierarchical model. Heck, his wife teaches men in the seminar.

    As far as the study goes, Eggerich never says that the real need for love and respect differs by gender. He says that the “felt” need differs.

    Please go to this post on the Love and Respect web site for a more clear explanation from the man himself.

    http://emersonandsarah.blogspot.com/2009/04/stereotyping.html

    If you are still not convinced that Suzanne has “jumped the shark” on this issue, then we will have to agree to disagree.

  48. geng, so you are on record as saying Eggerich does not believe nor teach that the husband is the leader and does NOT interpret kephale to mean leader?

    ” wanted to share what I see: inherent differences are actually going to weaken their argument, because everyone benefits when there is more than one viewpoint on any idea.”

    Kim,

    It did not weaken their argument for 8 Thousand years or however far back Gen 3 was written! Gender differences havebeen the foundational argument that has kept women from being a functioning part of the Body for thousands of years. The early church fathers wrote about it! You should read the things they said about women and their lack of intellectual capability. emotionalism and ‘needs’.

    It is the argument that keeps women in burkas. It is the same lie as the ‘shame/honor” society in the ME. Which is nothing but conceit. Sin.

    Let’s ask ourselves something..by focusing on these differences are we enabling sin? For example: Men have fragile egos and need respect. So we give the sinner what he needs or demands? We could easily say that a woman’s need for love means she can be deceived easier. Which negates Cheryl’s argument that not all women are easily deceived.

    The entire comp doctrine is based on gender differences that they exploit for position. They use these differences to elevate some other others.

    Where are these differences before the fall? So, how much of it is sinful flesh? HOw much of it is mom saying, that is girls work and that is boys work?

    Do all the ‘one anothers’ in scripture not apply to believers in marriage?

    This stuff is so ingrained. People have been taught that because of our different sexual organs we automatically have different emotions, intellect, feelings, etc. But it is not the sexual organs. It is sin. (because Jesus fulfills all our needs)

    I contend that Paul and Peter are dealing with the reality of a woman’s position in the 1st century. I certiainly do not braid my hair, either! :o)

    I fear you guys are painting yourself into a corner on this. Can you show me in the OT where it is taught that men need respect and women need love? Is that made clear there? Is it a result of sin culture or of Creation?

  49. BTW: I am NOT angry at anyone. I just don’t use a lot of flowery words.

    As my Jewish friend, Tikvah, would say:

    “She is making an argument”

  50. I have to agree with Lin on this one. I can assure you, having ongoing firsthand access to comp thought, that women’s so-called emotional proclivity IS used as an argument against their ability to be in ‘leadership’ positions!!!! I am not referring to just one comp’s thoughts, either.

    I also agree that we would have a hard time proving that it ISN”T culture/environment/….that effectively shape or influence how we feel about ourselves as male or female. When a male or female goes against the grain of standard cultural thought in terms of characteristics, they are definitely viewed as outside the box in an eyebrow-raising way. I have known both males and females who seem to defy the stereotypes of gender ‘behavior’ and characteristics, and they were/are very definitely NOT self-proclaiming or practicing homosexuals nor did they have a rebellious spirit. (The two most common accusations when these sorts of people are encountered.)

    I can assure you I feel little lack for love in my marriage (to a comp) yet as a woman I do feel a huge lack of respect for who I am in Christ when in the company of comps-including, respectfully though sadly, the spouse.

  51. My anit-spam word was “male”. It appears appropriate!

    Thanks for the welcome Cheryl. I can see that blogging from Australia means I will be missing most of the action while I am asleep! Sadly there are not many Australian blogs dealing with the roles of women in the home and the church, so I will continue to read along for encouragement (and informative) purposes, but will probably be a bit slow off the mark in the commenting department!

    I did want to say that a post on the meaning of the word “submission” would be very helpful.

  52. Hi, Lin!

    “Where are these differences before the fall?”

    I’m not ignoring the rest of your good post. It’s just easier to deal with this one point, because I can wrap the entirety of what I’m thinking into my answer here. The argument could be made that since God chose to make a woman to be Adam’s “strong help facing him” (my paraphrase), that God Himself created them to complement each other. They had commonality of course, but she had things (beyond biology) he didn’t, and he had things she didn’t.

    I do understand that the argument for differences being a reason for subjugation has been made for eons…but is it a real argument, or merely an excuse for angry, cowardly little boys at heart to beat up the girls? What I’m hearing you say is that since the other team says differences exist and therefore that’s some sort of rationale for the general scheme of things being skewed in favor of the male (as God said would happen and is re-accelerating in our time), our team must therefore deny what’s been obvious to most anyone throughout known history.

    I do have empathy for your point of view, because yes I have written the hideous things the “church fathers” (yuck) have said about females. However, the winner is always the one who writes the history books, as they say. It doesn’t make them– or their Talmudic, Muslim, Hindu or secular counterparts–right. It just means for now, they’ve largely won. It won’t always be that way.

    I can be quite confident in the fact that yes, I function on a very different level from any man I know (thank God) and that a lot of my emotional function falls into stereotype. It does not bother me, nor does it bother me that it’s being used against me. It just “is”, and right along with all the other nifty excuses for putting people “in their place”, someday it too will be no more.

    And like a “typical female”, I’m wishing we could all agree and get along [grin], but I knew I was going to have to take responsibility for my post, so here is my best answer, as unsatisfactory and frustrating as it probably is to you, for which I apologize.

    Kim 🙂

  53. chuckle…

    “I have written the hideous” should be “I have READ the hideous”.

    Kim 🙂

  54. Kim, I have no problem with your differences. What I have a problem with is assigning them to men and women as gender stereotypes given by God specifically to each gender that are not biological. I know some very touchy feely emotional men as we all do. They are made fun of ,yet, Jesus wept. And not for Lazarus. He knew He was going to raise him. He wept at the sight of his friends grief. Jael drove a spike in a guy’s head, for crying out loud. Now, there is a women who demands respect. :o)

    My point about the fall is that there is nothing before the fall to denote these non biological difference such as emotion, feelings and intellect. You cannot read it into Ezer because God is also an Ezer. What else do we have to go on before the fall? We are made in God’s image. To say that these are differences to celebrate and assign to genders as a result of the fall is dangerous ground.

    We all need love. We are ALL to love one another. We tend to idolize these differences and focus on them because of all the teaching, conferences, books, etc. when we should be seeking the Kingdom…because ‘all these things will be given to us’. We seek to be Christlike, none of this matters. And Christ was a male!

    BTW: Paula wrote a post about phobeos in this passage. Boy do we have it wrong! I went and checked an interlinear and Peter is not talking to women at all about ‘respect’ in this passage. He is actually talking to men about fearing God.

    http://www.fether.net/2009/06/25/grammar-and-context-a-study-in-1-peter/comment-page-1/#comment-1155

    BTW: Phobeos is used in Eph 5:23, too, in the passive. It can also mean fear or even reverence. Eggerich’s conference would not sound so good as Love and Fear or Love and Reverence. :o)

  55. Hi, Lin!

    Again, taking one sentence to help get my whole point across.

    “I know some very touchy feely emotional men as we all do.”

    Actually, I’ve never met a touchy-feely guy in my entire life unless he was also the “female” of a homosexual pair …seriously. Jesus weeping doesn’t mean he was in touch with his “inner female” on a daily basis…my almost non-emotive and mostly silent husband cried when we lost our 4 year old, after all…and Jael doesn’t seem to me to be entirely applicable to what we’re discussing. Just because she eliminated a serious personal threat doesn’t mean she was Mrs. Rambo on a daily basis. Even I, Mrs. Nauseated-at-Roadkill, could most likely do some serious damage if need be, under the right circumstances.

    One other thing to pull out and answer is that I don’t celebrate differences, really. They just “are”, in my view.

    I appreciate that you’re trying to paint a new picture for me, and I wish I could get into it, but the “colors” aren’t really helping me envision an answer other than the one I’ve given–and so I’ll let my voice lapse into silence and let yourself and the rest of the wonderful scholars here resume the finer points of interlinear definitions at this time. As you suggested, love is the real answer anyway, and someday we’ll have a perfect understanding of all these points that vex us now.

    Blessings!

  56. Kim, It seems you are trying to tell me I have specific female attributes in the areas of emotions, intellect and feelings outside the obvious biological ones. Would this mean that I am in rebellion to God if I do not have the same ones you are think are specific to ‘female’?

    Does it mean that all men who are touchy feely have homosexual tendancies?

    I am not sure how to respond to you. I heard this all the time in my comp years when I was busy marketing comp seminars which made a ton of money telling folks such things. Many artistic men were made to feel effiminate because of their bent and women like me were made out to be in rebellion to some idea of God’s ordained
    roles for women in the area of emotions, intellect and feelings
    which I cannot find in scripture.

    And how can I, as a woman, possibly become more Christlike since Christ was a male?

  57. I sense that there is a lot of hurt being expressed here because of past offenses that have been committed by complementarians.

    I had hoped to be able to go through all the comments and correct the misunderstandings on what I meant but time has run out and my daughter and her family arrives today for a four day stay so I will be out of the loop a little while longer.

    I will just give a brief comment that this isn’t about stereotypes but about generalities and things outside the generalities do not mean that a person is in sin. All the generalities do is to help us understand that there are differences between male and female and we may need to think outside of our own box in order to understand each other and to be understood. If females were the exact same as all males, then females would not be needed in order to be “complementary”. I believe very strongly that we are needed.

    As individuals we definitely do not totally “fit into the box”. My husband is much more emotional than I am. I tend towards logic and I am also trying to understand and then I work hard to figure out ways to be understood. Sometimes I may come across as not having much emotion. I do have emotion. It is just that my logical mind usually gets to rent the first space in my head.

    I will be back to this thread later. There are many more things to clear up. 🙂

  58. “geng, so you are on record as saying Eggerich does not believe nor teach that the husband is the leader and does NOT interpret kephale to mean leader?”

    What I am on record as saying is read the man’s own words and then draw your conclusions. Don’t trust what a blogger, or even I, say he “means”, teaches, or believes.

  59. “Kim, It seems you are trying to tell me I have specific female attributes in the areas of emotions, intellect and feelings outside the obvious biological ones.”

    I don’t think Kim or anyone else is saying that women or men have gender specific attributes in the areas of emotions, intellect, or feelings. That is, if you mean by “attributes” that either men or women are universally more or less emotional, intellectual, or feeling than the opposite sex. But we do, in general, process and react to stimuli and information in different ways, and it has everything to do with very gender specific biology (mainly hormones and brain structure).

    Denying the differences between men and women just because people have abused the differences will not make them go away. It is no different than those who deny Paul’s or Peter’s teachings simply because many have abused and misinterpreted those teachings. For example, many people, almost exclusively women, completely reject 1 Peter 3 as being valid scripture! They do this simply and only because it has been abused by many others, mostly men, to support patriarchy. In other words, they believe the lie – that Peter teaches hierarchy – and therefore fear his teaching. (It is even worse with Paul). The only solution that allows them to retain any sense of self is to believe another lie – that Peter is irrelevant, or even worse, an evil mysogyinst. Rather than explore the true meaning 1 Peter 3; rather than embrace the gender specific teacing and attempt to determine its value for men and women alike; they completely reject 1 Peter 3 and therefore ignore, or even argue against, its important lessons. Wouldn’t it serve our purpose much better if we rose above our cultural indoctrination which says that Paul and Peter preach hierarchy, and instead search out the real and deep meaning that they wish to impart to us all through their very gender specific teaching?

    So, why does Peter use Sarah’s factual obedience as an example? Why is it important that she showed reverence and maintained a quiet disposition when Abraham was behaving badly? And how will that help all wives deal with all similarly acting husbands? And what does he mean when he says husbands should live with their wives in “an understanding way”? Could it be that there is a general male tendancy NOT to live that way with our wives? And what is the difference between the reverence Sarah models and the honor we are to give our wives? Certainly Peter had a purpose in using two very different words, didn’t he? What do these very different instructions for husbands and wives have to do with our general conduct as Christians? Are we to continue in gender specific ways outside the home, or is the home a particular dynamic? Doesn’t Peter bring it all back together in the end and say that ALL of these behaviors and attitudes are proper for the Christian in his or her general dealings with people? So if we are all to act this way in general, why again does he need to be so gender specific when speaking of marriage? And why the sidebar into marriage at all?

    All of these questions, and many, many more, stem from the gender specific isntructions to husbands and wives. Yet “hierarchy” is far from the default conclusion one need come to in answering them. Just because some have concluded that hierarchy is the lesson to be learned doesn’t mean we all need to conclude that, nor does it at all confirm that erroneous conclusion. “Come now, and let us reason together” for “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness”.

  60. BTW and for the record, I am not an Eggerich lap dog. Like virtually every scholar whose words I give weight to, (Cheryl included 😉 ) I do not agree with absolutely everything he says. In some cases, it is far more than a quibble. BUT, his general theory – that expressing love and respect in gender specific doses is the key to a relatively loving, peaceful, and egalitarain marriage – holds significant sway with me, not only because of my observation that withholding the same destroys marriages but because it rests on a sound (and so far undisputed) scriptural foundation.

  61. “Can you show me in the OT where it is taught that men need respect and women need love? Is that made clear there? Is it a result of sin culture or of Creation?”

    Actually, I think Proverbs 31 is an excellent picture of a couple living out this paradigm.

  62. I am going to work somewhat backwards on the comments.

    #60 gengwall,

    I don’t think Kim or anyone else is saying that women or men have gender specific attributes in the areas of emotions, intellect, or feelings. That is, if you mean by “attributes” that either men or women are universally more or less emotional, intellectual, or feeling than the opposite sex. But we do, in general, process and react to stimuli and information in different ways, and it has everything to do with very gender specific biology (mainly hormones and brain structure).

    This was well said. I do not think that anywhere here is saying that women have more feelings than men do (although men have been forced in some cultures to repress their feelings), nor that men are more intellectual than women, etc. Our differences have nothing to do with our spiritual worth except that women are needed. If women were the exact same as men, then men could say that women are not needed. The fact is that women are women and their value as women is great needed to bring balance. It matters not whether the woman is the “standard” or an exceptionally unique creation of God that is unlike most other women. She is still needed because she brings a different way of living out her gifts that men need.

    It seems to me that some think that if some women have characteristics and gifts that are more common to men than to women, then for some reason they do not have as much worth in the fellowship of believers. Dare I say that perhaps they have even more worth? Perhaps we can see these women as vitally necessary to help us understand each other. This is not said to put down any ordinary woman (is there such a thing as “ordinary”?). But I think that often those who do not fit in a set mold can feel left out and unappreciated and undervalued. I do not want to do that. I want to celebrate the worth of those who are jewels who stand out amongst the crowd.

    While the complementarians may reject those who do not fit their traditional comp role model, I do not think that we should go totally the opposite direction and deny any differences between men and women in the natural. The bottom line is that women are different than men and that difference is so needed and so complementary that trying to do “church” by using the gifts of men only is contrary to God’s will. God wants diversity. He made more than one color. He made more than one gender. He wants us to learn from each other and grow through the nurturing and sacrificial use of all of our gifts.

  63. gengwall,

    Rather than explore the true meaning 1 Peter 3; rather than embrace the gender specific teacing and attempt to determine its value for men and women alike; they completely reject 1 Peter 3 and therefore ignore, or even argue against, its important lessons. Wouldn’t it serve our purpose much better if we rose above our cultural indoctrination which says that Paul and Peter preach hierarchy, and instead search out the real and deep meaning that they wish to impart to us all through their very gender specific teaching?

    Thank you so much for coming to my blog and posting your comments. I see you affirming not only the worth of women but pushing us all to keep balanced. This is highly important. When one reacts against a false and hurtful doctrine, it is easy to miss the mark too. I think this is because the false interpretation has also affected us too. When we see the inspired writings of Peter and Paul we can often cringe because the inspiration has been tainted with false teaching. The temptation is to run as far away from the error as we can. And in doing so many will dismiss some things that stand out. I can always learn too as we all can. Men and women are different and this is by design. But the differences in reasoning or understanding or anything else, does not carry through into the spiritual. We are completely equal before God and we should be seen as completely equal before each other as we are not spiritual sons and daughters, but all are spiritual sons, equal heirs together in Christ.

  64. I disagree that men and women have to be different or one wouldn’t be needed. This very idea is what drives the Eternal Subordination of the Son movement, because they claim that hierarchy in the Trinity is required in order to distinguish the Persons.

    The only difference in humans that’s truly **needed** is biological. The Bible speaks of the bond between David and Jonathan as “better than the love of women” (which of course some take wrong), and there are plenty of best friends of the same sex. If they happen to be of opposite sexes people presume the relationship to be sexual even when it isn’t. So the presupposition of a non-biological gender-based difference is flawed because there is so much evidence to the contrary.

    I think some egals try to attribute non-biological differences out of an over-reaction to the bogus claim that we wish to blur the distinction between the sexes. But as I always reply, it is comps that wish to blur distinctions– between individuals within a sex. They read too much into the “help meet” thing, presuming a spiritual or emotional bond beyond that which any two friends could have, even though the first two humans **had** to be of opposite sex or there’d have been no other “friends” to come.

    There is a good reason scripture calls only the male/female sexual relationship “one flesh”: it’s about the flesh. Oh I know, people will go ballistic over that, but as I said, two people of the same sex can be best friends, very complementary, without any hint of sexuality. I’m not saying a husband and wife don’t bond emotionally, but that sexuality is not a requirement for such a bond.

    I will have to find some current studies, but those I’ve read in the past showed that while hormones affect the development of the brain, this does not result in any clear advantage in intelligence of one sex over the other, or in particular emotional or spiritual traits. Male and female brains have general tendencies to think in particular ways, but there are too many exceptions to make it a rule. In order for something to be a rule– that is, a universal trait that crosses culture and time– there can be no exceptions. And I am not aware of any study showing an emotional or spiritual trait that is clearly exclusive to one sex or the other.

    So both scripture and science, along with much anecdotal evidence, agree that the only necessary and pre-Fall difference between male and female is physical.

    “And that’s all I have to say about that.” — Forrest Gump

  65. #65 Paula,

    I disagree that men and women have to be different or one wouldn’t be needed.

    I don’t know but it seems to me that God said that the man alone was “not good”. Instead of creating another male he chose to create a female to fix the “not good” state. That celebrates our differences and proves that women are needed.

    This very idea is what drives the Eternal Subordination of the Son movement, because they claim that hierarchy in the Trinity is required in order to distinguish the Persons.

    I wouldn’t be right to compare my words about male/female in humans with the Trinity. The Trinity is not comparable to humanity and since I did a major DVD work disproving the Eternal Subordination of the Son argument, my words could not possibly be the same as the ESS argument.

    The only difference in humans that’s truly **needed** is biological.

    A biological difference also brings a difference to the way we think, the way we process problems, etc. Biology is a hormonal chemistry that affects our bodies quite dramatically. Women who are much like men are still very special additions given by God. We are needed as women bring balance that God intended all along.

    So the presupposition of a non-biological gender-based difference is flawed because there is so much evidence to the contrary.

    God-created hormones affects every areas of our lives. However where we can all agree (I hope) is that spiritually there is no difference between male and female. Inside each of us is our spirit that is neither male nor female. Hormones do not affect our spirits and our spirits should never be judged as male or female. We are equal heirs in Christ. In the natural we are a needed part of humanity since ten males together will never be as well-balanced as 9 males and 1 female. Even the addition of one female brings balance as God intended.

    They read too much into the “help meet” thing, presuming a spiritual or emotional bond beyond that which any two friends could have, even though the first two humans **had** to be of opposite sex or there’d have been no other “friends” to come.

    I read it as the female was necessary to bring a completeness and a balance. I see females as completely needed and that God planned it that way. When the church excludes the leadership of women to the body of Christ, they are saying that they know better than God knows. Women are not an after thought by God. We are a special thought by God as we are needed. Perhaps some egals think that I give women too much credit as special. Then perhaps we just need to agree to disagree.

    There is a good reason scripture calls only the male/female sexual relationship “one flesh”: it’s about the flesh.

    Hormones play a part in who we are as people past just our sexual function. My femaleness is not just about my sexual function. I see that God has given me as a gift and that I can bless men with a way of thinking that is needed. Scripture has helped me to understand that I need not fear serving and giving my best to the entire body because I am needed.

    I will have to find some current studies, but those I’ve read in the past showed that while hormones affect the development of the brain, this does not result in any clear advantage in intelligence of one sex over the other, or in particular emotional or spiritual traits.

    Hormones certainly do affect the development of the brain. It is not to say that women are better than men or vice versa. But they are different. And those differences are needed. Men need women. That is the bottom line. I have never said that women are more intelligent than men nor have I said that there is a specific emotional trait or spiritual trait that belongs to women. But I have said that women were created different. Different means that we can be truly complementary because we are needed.

    I, for one, am very glad that God made me this way. I am glad that God made me needed. If I felt that I was no different than a male, I would likely have an inferiority complex because men tend to have a more forceful ego and that can be very intimidating. But while I am a female who is one of many who is disadvantaged in society at large because of my gender, God has freely given me gifts that are influenced by who I am as a female. I can know for sure that I am needed. God made me this way.

    If any egalitarian who is female disagrees with me that they as females are special gifts to the church because God made them female, then God bless you. God can make this known to you in some other way. I won’t argue with you. But I will continue to take the place that God has prepared for me. And it is so wonderful to know that I am needed and my being a female is special.

    For those of you who are different than what you see other females to be, I want you to know that you are special. You are exactly what God created you to be. You are not the same as a man. You are equal but different but you have no rules that prohibit you from functioning in the same field as the men. Different does not mean that you cannot function with freedom anywhere that God places you. It just means that you are special. You are unique and you are God’s gift to the church just the way you are.

  66. “I don’t know but it seems to me that God said that the man alone was “not good”. Instead of creating another male he chose to create a female to fix the “not good” state. That celebrates our differences and proves that women are needed.”

    Besides the obvious biological differences, what characteristics do you see as different by Design? Where are they listed?

    “God-created hormones affects every areas of our lives.”

    We simply do not know if hormones are a result of the fall or not. And if they were and affect every area of our life then they would have to affect us spiritually, too. For example, Driscoll thinks this is why women are more easily deceived than men. They can’t help it.

    ” However where we can all agree (I hope) is that spiritually there is no difference between male and female. Inside each of us is our spirit that is neither male nor female. Hormones do not affect our spirits and our spirits should never be judged as male or female. We are equal heirs in Christ. In the natural we are a needed part of humanity since ten males together will never be as well-balanced as 9 males and 1 female. Even the addition of one female brings balance as God intended.”

    How? By what non biological characteristic? I keep seeing this statement but no one has listed the “Different by Design’
    characteristics between males and females that are non biological?
    We keep talking about something we refuse to define. And the reason is that if we try to define it, we find it is not universal at all. And we argue that Deborah proves that women not being allowed to rule is the exception that proves there is no rule.

    ” read it as the female was necessary to bring a completeness and a balance. I see females as completely needed and that God planned it that way. ”

    How? Outside of biological differences, what do you mean? Now, if you mean that HUMANS are different, I totally agree.

    But I am wondering outside of biological differences how we can attach pink and blue to all other characteristics of emotions, intellect, reasoning, etc? What are the pink and blue differences outside of the biological ones?

    ” see that God has given me as a gift and that I can bless men with a way of thinking that is needed. ”

    Can you define this way of thinking? Is it universal for all women? If not, then how can it be a difference by design?

    “or those of you who are different than what you see other females to be, I want you to know that you are special. You are exactly what God created you to be. You are not the same as a man. You are equal but different but you have no rules that prohibit you from functioning in the same field as the men. Different does not mean that you cannot function with freedom anywhere that God places you. It just means that you are special. You are unique and you are God’s gift to the church just the way you are.”

    This is the whole point. Outside of biological differences God created us all with different characteristics. They are not necessarily pink and blue. No where in the Gen account do we see this listed unless we read into it.

    Is compassion a pink or blue characteristic?
    Is pride a pink or blue characteristic?
    Is love a pink or blue characteristic?
    Is nurturing a pink or blue characteristic?
    Is reasoning a pink or blue characteristic?
    Is hate a pink or blue characteristic?
    Is loyalty a pink or blue characteristic?
    Is wisdom a pink or blue characteristic?

    I could go on but I hope you get my point.

  67. #67 Lin,

    Besides the obvious biological differences, what characteristics do you see as different by Design? Where are they listed?

    I don’t see any characteristic as belonging just to one gender. What I do see is some things belonging less to one gender than the other gender and some things as generally belonging more to one gender than the other.

    An out-front ego seems to be generally more of a male characteristic than female. Barak seemed to be an exception to the rule when he trusted God enough to want God’s prophet-leader to go into battle with him. He didn’t seem to care that he would not receive the honor from the battle.

    In some ways having less of an ego than is generally in the male population makes a woman a good all around leader.

    We simply do not know if hormones are a result of the fall or not.

    We do know that hormones were there before the fall. God told Adam and Eve to procreate before the fall and this is impossible without hormones. Also when God said to Eve after the fall that he would greatly increase her child bearing, he did not add hormones but he greatly changed the original female child bearing level. What was there originally in the beginning was just changed so that humanity would continue on in enough numbers that the dying process would not wipe out mankind.

    And if they were and affect every area of our life then they would have to affect us spiritually, too.

    Our spirits do not have organs to be affected by hormones. God is not male or female as he does not have body parts. Our spirits are neither male nor female as they also do not have male or female “parts” and our physical hormones cannot and do not touch our spirits.

    For example, Driscoll thinks this is why women are more easily deceived than men. They can’t help it.

    Driscoll is dead wrong. He has misunderstood the scriptures and he is teaching error in this area.

    How? By what non biological characteristic? I keep seeing this statement but no one has listed the “Different by Design’ characteristics between males and females that are non biological?

    I do not believe that there are non-biological differences. It is only our bodies and our brains (which are affected by hormones) which are different. Our spirits are not different. I cannot give you non-biological differences because I don’t believe that these kinds of differences exist.

    We keep talking about something we refuse to define. And the reason is that if we try to define it, we find it is not universal at all.

    We can discuss generalities but not all generalities fit every person. Most women are “designed” to be nurturers. They come by it naturally. Men can also be nurturers but most will not come by it naturally and most will never excel in this area as their female counterparts do.

    And we argue that Deborah proves that women not being allowed to rule is the exception that proves there is no rule.

    I agree that leadership is not an area that is against the design that God created in women. If it was then God would have said so. Not only would women not have any leadership qualities, but God would have forbidden them to use these gifts in the church. However Paul encouraged all to participate with their gifts in the body (1 Cor. 14) and he said that anyone may aspire to the work of an overseer (1 Timothy 3:1). Paul certainly did not contradict God’s word. God’s word does not limit women in their service to the body of Christ.

    How? Outside of biological differences, what do you mean? Now, if you mean that HUMANS are different, I totally agree.

    I am speaking about biological differences that influence who we are and the special way that God can use us because we bring a balance. A group of gifted male servants is wonderful but they are missing something without the females working alongside them. Jesus had only 12 male apostles during his lifetime but after he died, the apostles were ministered to by women and women worked alongside them as equal heirs of God just as the OT predicted. This shows that change in our thinking that is prejudiced against women may be slow but eventually the church has to come to recognize not only the value of women, but that women are necessary for true balance in the servanthood of the church.

    But I am wondering outside of biological differences how we can attach pink and blue to all other characteristics of emotions, intellect, reasoning, etc? What are the pink and blue differences outside of the biological ones?

    There aren’t any pink or blue characteristics. The differences are biological ones where some characteristics are stronger in one gender and some are just different so that women add a strength to leadership and a balance. The problem with complementarians is that they see “different” as inferior. “Different” is not inferior. Our differences can be celebrated because we are needed. One day I believe that we will not only be needed but wanted.

    Can you define this way of thinking? Is it universal for all women? If not, then how can it be a difference by design?

    It isn’t universal for women, but it is from a woman’s perspective. For example I have been able to see things in Genesis because I can see in the text things that men don’t normally pay attention to because they are not women. When I read that Eve gave a slightly different version of God’s command, I do not read that the woman got the command wrong. I read that she gave the perspective that God gave to both of them, but that was a focus to her – the command not to even touch the fruit. While a male readily discounts the woman’s testimony, I give Eve credit for telling the truth. As a woman I understand that she is emphasizing a different part of the prohibition. As a woman I will not attribute sin to Eve just because she is a woman, unless the text proves that she sinned before sin entered the world.

    Is compassion a pink or blue characteristic?
    Is pride a pink or blue characteristic?

    There are no pink or blue characteristics. However once again I will emphasize that men and women typically have more or less of the characteristic by gender. To say “Male pride” one gets the picture. Males struggle with an ego issue far more than females do on the average. Also compassion is far more naturally high in a female than in a male. I ran a support group for 16 years for former Jehovah’s Witnesses. This required a great deal of patience and specific compassion. The reason I ended up with this position is because the males that tried to run it to begin with would have destroyed the support group because they had a significantly less amount of patience and compassion to make it work. When they failed, they willingly handed the job over to me and I carried on for many years with great success.

    I am not sure how else to explain this. It is all about a biological difference that explains why we do things differently. But aside from the outward biological differences, inside we are spirits without gender – completely equal and gender will not matter in heaven if there is indeed physical differences in heaven. We are all sons by inheritance and all are the bride of Christ by our relationship to Christ.

  68. I see what you are saying, Cheryl that men and women are different biologicaly but not in terms of characteristics, but question:

    “However once again I will emphasize that men and women typically have more or less of the characteristic by gender. To say “Male pride” one gets the picture. Males struggle with an ego issue far more than females do on the average. Also compassion is far more naturally high in a female than in a male.”

    How can we know that what we see as typical today and in history, in people is not just “programming” and people defining themselves by culture?

    And (so-called) “male pride” could just be a result of the fall (due to biological differences) or learned behavior/cultural programming.

    I donno, I lean with nuture since most people are followers. We have biological differences but the’ve been distorted by the fall…

  69. Stickler,
    No doubt our biological differences have been distorted by the fall. However we do have biological differences. Who knows what “male pride” would have originally been like without the factor of sin. We should be able to conclude that God originally created the differences to be with outsin so whatever “male pride” looked like before sin entered the world has certainly been greatly distorted by sin now.

    How can we know that what we see as typical today and in history, in people is not just “programming” and people defining themselves by culture?

    Who is doing the “programming”? The world has many different cultures and we see differences between male and female in all of the cultures so there is not any one programmer.

    I think that the issue here is not to deny that there are biological differences between men and women that cause them to think and act differently (generally speaking). The issue is whether these differences are cause to be prejudiced against one gender through males dictating what females may or may not do in their relationship with God and the church. I believe that the only one who can create the restrictions is God Himself. I also believe that according to God’s Word and His own practices, that God has not limited women in their usefulness nor has He given any less of His Spirit to indwell them. However it does seem like many men think that the Holy Spirit who dwells in women should be restricted from expressing Himself. I say, how dare anyone tell God what He can do?

  70. When we bring biological differences into the discussion in ways that the bible does not, are we not treading dangerous ground? Isn’t this the same ground the comps have tread and used to justify their beliefs? They claim a relationship between Eve and subsequently all women’s particular ‘sinful inclinations’, ie prone to be deceived, based on women’s biology or ‘uniqueness’. I see no basis for their discussion or claim in the bible. Do we now resurrect claims based on biology for egal. purposes? I think we have to be very, very careful if we do. Just a thought. What’s fair for the goose has to be fair for the gander sometimes.

  71. Thanks truthseeker for your concern.

    What comps do is take their prejudice against women and they teach a view of Eve who sinned before she ate the fruit. Their teaching is that Eve was not only deceived but she distorted the words of God even before sin entered the world and before she stretched out her hand and ate the fruit. Their teaching is flawed and their conclusions that women inherit the spiritual attribute of deception through Eve is completely foreign to the text. Their view has nothing to do with biological differences between men and women, but a *spiritual* difference between men and women.

    In contrast, there is no spiritual difference between men and women taught in the scriptures. There is a biological difference shown and supported as something that is truly complementary. Women are the ones shown in scripture as the nurturers. It was the women who were there at the cross when all the men scattered. Women were the ones who were first to the tomb as they were the ones who considered that Jesus should have spices for embalming. This is a nurturing/caring trait that is found in a larger degree in women. This is what makes women biologically suited for the initial bonding process with their children. This is also what makes children generally prefer their mothers when they are hurt. God has placed within women (in general) an abundance of the characteristic of what we call “mothering”.

    We also see this in the gospels when the women ministered to Jesus, with some of them supporting him out of their own finances.

    The difference again between comps and egals in this area, is the comps use the differences between men and women to claim a lack of full spiritual approval for women. This is an invalid claim and unsupported by scripture. Egals like myself see a difference between men and women as a God ordained purpose for women to supply what is lacking in men alone. In this way of thinking, women are not only equal with men, but they are very much needed to provide balance and wholeness.

    Does this make sense?

  72. I think we also need to be careful not to “react” to comp teaching so that we go too far the other way. It is an accusation of comps that egals teach that men and women are unisex – no difference at all. Accepting our differences and celebrating those differences is not giving into comp thinking. It is accepting that God made us spiritually equal and biologically complementary which is a wonderful and amazing thing. 1 Cor. 11:7 speaks about this as Paul says:

    ..the woman is the glory of man

    The woman was made so that the man would be proud of her as she is his glory. He is to *glory* in her. She has an intimate connection with him, she is his flesh, yet she is also his glory. The bible never says that he is *her* glory. She is the one who brings what is missing. She was the crowning part of creation. Our differences bring both complementarity and glory to man.

  73. “No doubt our biological differences have been distorted by the fall. However we do have biological differences. Who knows what “male pride” would have originally been like without the factor of sin. We should be able to conclude that God originally created the differences to be with outsin so whatever “male pride” looked like before sin entered the world has certainly been greatly distorted by sin now. ”

    There would have been male pride without sin?

    “Women are the ones shown in scripture as the nurturers. It was the women who were there at the cross when all the men scattered. Women were the ones who were first to the tomb as they were the ones who considered that Jesus should have spices for embalming.”

    Why is that considered nurturing? Why not loyalty or courage? Or just plain Boldness for their Messiah?

    I think Truthseeker has it right. We are treading on dangerous grounds that we cannot prove ingrained before the fall. Women took their sinful place after the fall to be dominated in Patriarchy. And this place has been passed down over thousands of years through expectations for women. They characteristics have been taught and caught.

    I think there is also a danger in being afraid of comps accusing us of teaching unisex so we buy into some of their teaching on non physical character traits for men and women. As in women being natural nurterers. (Breastfeeding is a great example of this as it comes very hard for some women and is even impossible for some)

    To claim that there are no differences spiritually between the sexes but then to claim there are vast differences in emotions, intellect, ego, pride, nurturing, etc., negates the claim there are no differences spiritually.

    “There are no pink or blue characteristics. However once again I will emphasize that men and women typically have more or less of the characteristic by gender. To say “Male pride” one gets the picture. Males struggle with an ego issue far more than females do on the average”

    If there are no pink or blue characteristics, then why are we having this discussion?

    But, I can tell you this is not true at all that men struggle more with the ego issue. It is a folk myth. As one who consulted in hundreds of companies all over the USA, I can tell you that female pride and ego are alive and well. It is just that the METHODS for carrying out this sin are different based on what society deems is acceptable for a female to do and a man to do.

  74. Lin,

    There would have been male pride without sin?

    I am sure it would have been called something else before sin. Sin distorts our differences. It doesn’t create them.

    Why is that considered nurturing? Why not loyalty or courage? Or just plain Boldness for their Messiah?

    Or perhaps we can say that nurturing is part of how women’s loyalty is shown. However we describe it, we see subtle (or not-so-subtle) differences of what separates the sexes.

    I think Truthseeker has it right. We are treading on dangerous grounds that we cannot prove ingrained before the fall.

    I do not see how it can be dangerous if we are merely commenting on the differences we see. The focus is on understanding one another not forcing anyone to comply to our own definition.

    Peter shows how there are both differences in the genders and complete equality in spirit. He said:

    1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

    I don’t think that we could tell Peter that he is on dangerous territory telling husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way **because she is a woman**. Peter emphasized her differences for one reason only – to encourage men to work to understand their wives and not treat them as if they are just like men. Then after Peter has emphasized her difference and the careful way that men need to treat their women because **she is a woman** he turns around and shows that women are absolutely and completely equal with men in the spiritual realm as equal heirs. This is what I call the proof text for different yet equal. I think the comps have it somewhat backwards when they say equal but different. It shouldn’t be a “but” but a “yet”. Different yet equal.

    In the natural I want my husband to treat me as different (and special) but in the spiritual I want my husband to treat me as equal. I absolutely do not believe that Peter got it wrong. I do not believe that Paul would have chided Peter for the statement “because she is a woman” and told him that he is on dangerous territory. To me the dangerous territory is not understanding the subtle differences that God made in the sexes. It is not a spiritual danger but a danger of misunderstanding. The true spiritual danger is that if men do not treat their wives as spiritual equals, their prayers will be hindered. That is quite a warning to men to wake up and figure this one out.

    Women took their sinful place after the fall to be dominated in Patriarchy. And this place has been passed down over thousands of years through expectations for women. They characteristics have been taught and caught.

    That is true. But I am not talking about these sinful characteristics. I am talking about what a woman is naturally even within groups of women. We are what we are. What I am trying to do is affirm our differences while dispelling the myth of inequality.

    I think there is also a danger in being afraid of comps accusing us of teaching unisex so we buy into some of their teaching on non physical character traits for men and women. As in women being natural nurterers. (Breastfeeding is a great example of this as it comes very hard for some women and is even impossible for some)

    It is not an issue of fear. It is an issue of having the egalitarian position misunderstood and the hindrances that block our message from being heard. Also the issue of nurturing I am speaking about is a characteristic not connected to the physical ability to breastfeed. Watch a woman hold a baby and then watch the average man hold a baby. The difference is the characteristic that I speak about.

    To claim that there are no differences spiritually between the sexes but then to claim there are vast differences in emotions, intellect, ego, pride, nurturing, etc., negates the claim there are no differences spiritually.

    I didn’t say that there are vast differences in emotions or intellect. I don’t recall making any claim at all about these things. I see no connections whatsoever that would make us spiritually unequal. I believe that women are needed spiritually to bring a balance. I would need an example of how my understanding of male and female in the natural would make them spiritually unequal. I do not see it.

    If there are no pink or blue characteristics, then why are we having this discussion?

    People see “pink” and “blue” as removing one gender from a characteristic or from a spiritual gift. I am not advocating that people see it that way.

    But, I can tell you this is not true at all that men struggle more with the ego issue. It is a folk myth. As one who consulted in hundreds of companies all over the USA, I can tell you that female pride and ego are alive and well. It is just that the METHODS for carrying out this sin are different based on what society deems is acceptable for a female to do and a man to do.

    “Ego” is not a sin if it just means our self-esteem. However I have been using the term “male ego” as a way to express egotism which is sinful. Your quote above actually confirms what I am saying about the differences between male and female. Men and women have different ways of doing things especially the acting out of our sinful ways. When women undercut each other, I do not see that as an acceptable thing in our society. But I heartily agree with you that men and women act out differently. That has been my point.

  75. In Lin’s statement about men and women both expressing ego, but in different ways, she said the difference in how they expressed their egos was due to what was acceptable in society, not inherent male/female characteristics. That is culture, not physiology (‘acceptable in society’).

    The bible is curiously quiet about male/female non-physical characteristics. If it is, then it must be due to the fact that they either don’t exist or they are not germane to biblical topics. (Two possibilities)

    In 1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”, I notice several things.

    First, he is addressing husbands, not all men, so the weakness their wives have ‘since they are women’ may be by virtue of being women AND wives, not just being women. In the same way, slaves might be said to have been diminished in capacity NOT because they were diminished as individuals in their inherent make-up but because of their position as slaves. In fact, egals often point this out. It would seem to be contrary to their position on slaves to then turn around and attribute qualities to women wives because of their gender rather than their position in that society.

    It would seem that the understanding of why ‘wives are weaker, because they are women’ in 1 Peter 3:7 would need to be explored and understood. What does weaker mean in that context? Was it referring to the general economic status of women of that time and culture (as some egals have postulated) or to their physical strength or to some other facet? Was it for that time or for all times?

    I understand that we can observe and note general characteristics of male and female in any given time and society, but I am not convinced that very many-if any-of these can be attributed to anything other than cultural influence. Sociologists have spent much time studying these things and can document societies that run counter to everything we have mentioned so far. Each of those societies may only have some of the exceptions, but the exceptions are out there.

    Even the egal arguments used here on this site use the argument that because even one or two examples of an exception to comp thinking can be found, it negates the particular comp thinking in question (for example: Junias being named among the apostles is the single example of a female apostle so it is used to validate female apostleship.) Using the same rationale, if even one example of a non-nurturing female or nurturing male can be found, it negates the ‘females are most nurturing’ theory.

    The reason I say it is dangerous to tread on the ground of adding one’s own observations about male/female characteristics to the discussion of a biblical topic is that it presents/relies upon extra-biblical observation which opens up a Pandora’s box. Unless it can be proven, beyond a doubt, it ought to be left out. We have used extra-biblical evidence (as have comps) in support of egal thinking, but it has been valid when and because it has been factual, proveable, historical, contextual evidence, etc. Do we have that for male/female emotional/mental theorized differences-beyond a shadow of a doubt and without acceptable exceptions? And who defines ‘acceptable exceptions?’

    That there are ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ norms for any given society is fairly obvious, but that these norms are inherent to all females and males is not even possible because of the many exceptions. Sin is so pervasive it makes it difficult to see the true ‘non-sinful’ condition of males and females. We have to look at the pre-fall condition for that, and we see no clues there of male/female emotional/mental differences. At least, I don’t.

    The statement that ‘women are needed spiritually to bring a balance’ suggests to me that there is a ‘pink and blueness’ to biblical truth. I don’t see that supported anywhere in scripture. Can God not speak the same truth through a man or a woman equally? Is that not what we, as egals, are positing? If one is speaking about a particular issue related to men, women, slaves, etc., then, yes, having a representative of that particular group would be extremely useful. Otherwise, I don’t see how it would be necessary.

    I think it is noteworthy that the many places where the bible makes reference to sins such as pride, greed, adultery, fornication, anger, etc., it does not differentiate between male and female versions of nor proclivities towards these sins nor does it address a specific gender. The ‘love’ chapter is a noteworthy example in that it discusses numerous attributes that might have been attributed to male/female but aren’t, at all.

    Respectfully,
    Truthseeker

  76. Lin,

    Let me try to understand something. Do you believe that males and females were basically androgynous before the fall – possessing identical hormonal levels and brain structures? That hardly seems possible if, as Cheryl has said, they were intended to procreate fall or not.

    The reality is that God designed males and females differently. Can anyone deny that? Is it not naive to then believe that those gender specific differences won’t impact how we interact with the world and each other?

    It has been my understanding that the “sameness” argument of radical feminism has been demolished by the last 20 years of brain scan and hormone studies. But I guess there are still those who believe we would all act exactly the same despite our “nature” if it weren’t for all that pesky, evil “nurturing” that inundates us from birth forward. If that is the case, then I am quite thankful for such detrimental cultural impacts on our lives. If my wife were just another me, I couldn’t live with her at all, let alone in an understanding way.

    Truthseeker said – “The bible is curiously quiet about male/female non-physical characteristics. If it is, then it must be due to the fact that they either don’t exist or they are not germane to biblical topics.”

    Neither is true because your premise is false. The bible is chock full of teaching in both the old and new testament about male/female non-physical characteristics as they impact male female relationships, especially the marriage relationship, and 1 Peter 3 is one of the starkest examples. Seriously – do you think 1 Peter 3 is irrelevant if removed from the 1st Century Roman ruled Jewish culture?

    Cheryl – you have done some heavy lifting here but I am not sure it will help. I run into the same thing all the time myself. Others are so convinced, despite not only all the anecdotal evidence but a great deal of sound biological and sociological science, that we are all psychological play-doh at birth and everything observed as “different” is really the result of manipulation by that evil boogey-man: culture.

    As I mentioned earlier, for those seeking biological and sociological confirmation of our inherent, designed* differences and the impact they have on our relationships, I recommend the following:

    “His Brain, Her Brain” by Dr. Walt and Barb Larimore
    “Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps” by Allan and Barabara Pease
    “The Proper Care and Feeding…” series by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
    “Brain Sex” by Anne Moir and David Jessel
    “The Essential Difference” by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen

    And the huge listing of male/female differences, with references, on the web site of Dr. Arlene R. Taylor – http://www.arlenetaylor.org/brainfacts-references/219-pdf-files

    None of these authors support the cultural patriarchal model that some here believe “differences” and culture inevitably lead to. Yet they clearly recognize those differences and attribute them to “nature” over “nurture”. Our culture can’t change our hormonal balance or brain structure any more than it can change our anatomy. Dr. Taylor probably says it best, and in a way that should be to the liking of everyone here, I would think:

    Men and women are more alike than they are different. After all they are members of the same species. In truth there may be greater differences between individuals within the same gender than between males and females. Nevertheless, there are [gender specific] differences that need to be recognized, honored, and understood-insofar as it is possible to do so. (from the “Selected Brain Facts, Male-Female Differences” pdf’s found on the web site above)

    *Many of these authors, of course, do not recognize “design” as part of the equation. I see no need to quibble about the source of the differences when the conclusions about their impact are the same.

  77. With all the talk of differences here, here is a link to a TV show that is talking about the male’s ability to “think about nothing”. http://www.lovemarriageandstinkingthinking.com/free-episode/

    Honestly, I can’t relate. My mind is always on something (usually doctrinal issues). I also can’t go to a doctor’s office or a dentist office without bringing a book. Why? Because I can’t stand to sit there and wait without thinking about something.

    Let me know what you think and whether men agree that they are able to just think about nothing.

  78. Mark Gungor also has a video on youtube (can’t get at it at work) which addresses brain differences, and specifically, the male “nothing box”. My wife, my sister, my mom, my married female in-laws – none of them can relate. Yet every male partner in those marriages knowingly nods their head when the “nothing box” gets mentioned. I wish I could share it with you Cheryl because it is truely a peaceful and blissful state of mind, but I know your integrated, always active brain would immediately want to put “something” in there, and we males just won’t have that.

  79. Yup, I know all about the “nothing box”. About a year ago or so we bought Mark Gunger’s DVDs and my husband confirmed to me that he too has a nothing box. It explained a lot to me when I would ask my husband what he was thinking and he said “Nothing”. I didn’t think it was possible to think about nothing. Even when I am thinking about nothing in particular, I am thinking about something. It confirms to me that God made males and females different and that men need us just as God said “In the beginning”.

  80. Hi Cheryl,

    I’ve jsut recently read through 1 Pet and thought i’d see what archives you had on it.

    I found it interesting with the overarching theme of ‘suffering’ in 1 Peter that the slaves/masters paradigm essentially is addressing slaves submitting to their masters EVEN IF they are ill treated (suffering essentially).

    I then found it interesting that the wife/husband paradigm is between a believing wife and unbelieving husband. Even then she is still told to submit to her husband. Imagine that, a believing wife told to submit to an unbelieving husband-profound. It is also interesting how she is told not to ‘fear’, so it seems the same suffering theme applies. A Christian woman is likely to suffer due to her faith from an unbelieving husband no doubt.

    Now that is truly counter cultural. A Christian woman told to submit to a man who does not cherish Christ- that would be hard work, but as Peter saids “it is precious in the sight of God.” Imagine an egalitarian calling a woman to do that!

    So i wonder how you feel about the call of Peter for a woman to submit even to an unbelieving husband. I think if we understood truly the ability of what our ‘actions’ (in this case a wife’s submission) can achieve our walk would be different. Her submission in essence could ‘win him over’ to Christ wihtout a ‘word’- praise God!

    I wonder how ‘reciprocal’ submission (Egal Eph 5) applies here. Does it even apply, or can it apply since the husband is an unbeliever? Perhaps this will shed some light on EPh 5 where BOTH parties are believers. How can this ‘submission’ be reciprocal when one is not a follower of Jesus? I’ll leave that for you to try and answer. Look forward to it!

  81. Just thinking about 1 Peter 2,3 at the moment. Sorry if these things have been dealt with and I have missed it, but 2 questions
    1. In 3:7 “Weaker partner”is often thought to refer to physical strength. If it means “powerless container” I was wondering if it may refer to something different. In that culture, I have heard that all the power was centered in the patriarch. A widow in that society had a difficult time and that is why there is special consideration of her needs in the bible. Could it have something to do with the woman’s lack of power in that culture?
    2. Peter seems to be encouraging a woman to submit to her husband even when he wants her to do something dodgy, because this is what Sarah did for Abraham. I can see how this may show submission and support, but has problems with the rest of scripture.
    Any thoughts? Thanks.

  82. Rereading here, several years later, I can only say that I find Paula and Lin’s (and Stickler’s) thinking to make the most sense. I am glad I reread. They provide the least basis for contradictions. In reading many comp arguments and claims in the past couple of years, some of the very things that Cheryl and Geng are holding fast have become the things comps use, logically, against egal or eternal subordination, etc., type of thinking.

  83. Craig,
    Thanks for your questions.

    Under question #1:

    The Greek term asthenes can refer to weak or powerless. The grammar is “comparative” which doesn’t mean that this is her essence, but in comparison to his power in society, she is seen as powerless. The term skeuos can refer to vessel or instrument as in a material object used to meet some need in an occupation or other responsibility (BDAG) Which is the best way to view these terms?

    We have several clues that will help us unravel Peter’s meaning. First of all husbands are to dwell with their wives with understanding. This is the Greek term gnosis which means knowledge – the comprehension or intellectual grasp of something. What is this knowledge to bring to the woman? Peter said that it is to give honor to the wives. While women typically have been in a weak position in society, God has said from the beginning even before her creation that man needs her. If the husband dwells with his wife with the knowledge of her place of importance, then he too will give her honor just as the woman gives her husband respect.

    Another clue that Peter gives is term “likewise” in verse 7. Just as Sarah honored her husband and was submissive to him, giving him respect and honor, so the husband is to honor the wife, treating her with the honor that goes with being the one who was designed to meet the “not good” need of the man. Honor is the manifestation of esteem, honor, reverence and respect (BDAG).

    Peter then writes that she is a co-heir (heir together) with the man of spiritual and eternal life. Peter gives a highly important incentive which is given uniquely regarding the woman. He writes that the man must give this kind of reverence, respect and honor towards the woman so that his prayers are not hindered. The Greek term enkopto means to thwart, hinder, impede, delay, detain, to make progress slow or difficult. The term for prayer can mean prayer, request, approach to God.

    I think that with all of this together, one should be able to understand that the woman is in a disadvantaged place in society but she is needed in the body and it is so much of God’s will that she be given an equal place of honor as a co-heir of God’s grace that if she is not treated with this kind of respect and honor, God will hold back the man in his spiritual life.

    I believe that when men recognize the importance of their sisters in Christ in the body as equal heirs of God’s grace, God’s message and God’s gifts, God will bind us together in love and the church will go forth in power rather than being stifled and held back.

    Paul sums up the respect of the wife to the husband and the respect and honor of the husband to the wife by saying:

    1 Peter 3:8–9 (NASB95)
    8. To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
    9. not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

    The end result of giving out honor to one another will be for our own good. We will inherit a blessing when we consider one another and deal with each other in a humble and kindhearted way.

  84. Craig,
    Under question #2, you asked:

    2. Peter seems to be encouraging a woman to submit to her husband even when he wants her to do something dodgy, because this is what Sarah did for Abraham. I can see how this may show submission and support, but has problems with the rest of scripture.
    Any thoughts? Thanks.

    I don’t think that Abraham’s dubious request is what Peter is referring to, but rather the reference to when Sarah called Abraham lord was in regard to the promised Messiah. I can’t find any other biblical reference where she called him lord. Sarah did accept the place of mother even at her old age.

    Genesis 18:12 (NASB95)
    12. Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

  85. Thanks so much Cheryl for such a thorough explanation of v 7. That really helps to bring the bring meaning and practicality to what Peter said.

    Regarding v5,6.
    I can see what you mean that Gen 18:12 is when we are told that Sarah called Abraham “lord” (master, sir – term of respect). If Peter’s comment is confined to this incident I can see how it would remove the practical problem of a wife being told to submit to her husband, even when he says to do something unwise or sinful. (I can’t really see how that could be consistent with the rest of scripture.)
    I would like to think that that is the explanation, but I have some questions still. In what sense is this is incident an example of Sarah “obeying” Abraham? Also, could Sarah calling Abraham “lord” at this one time just be an indication that it was her general term for him? Also, if Peter is discussing the difficult times of being a Christian, like when an unbelieving husband wants his wife to do something bad, I can see how it would tie in with Peter’s discussion of slaves and persecution. I am just trying to follow what Peter is really saying and why he said it. Thanks again.

  86. Truthseeker @85
    I just finished reading through the comments and found them very interesting. It is a subject I haven’t thought a lot about, and am a bit undecided, because everyone seemed to be making such good points.

    some of the very things that Cheryl and Geng are holding fast have become the things comps use, logically, against egal or eternal subordination, etc., type of thinking.

    It is certainly a concern that people use things that we say against us. But that should not determine our thinking if they are misusing what we say. It should only affect out thinking on a matter if they are correctly understanding and applying what we say. I am not sure that this is the case. Do you think they are correctly understanding Cheryl and Gengwall?

  87. Craig,
    You said:

    If Peter’s comment is confined to this incident I can see how it would remove the practical problem of a wife being told to submit to her husband, even when he says to do something unwise or sinful.

    I think that we can be confident that the kind of obedience that Peter is talking about is the kind of obedience that surrounds the only incidence where Sarah calls Abraham “lord”. Here is the obedience that I see:

    Genesis 18:6 (NKJV)
    6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.”

    Abraham was looking for favor in the sight of God and how he showed his honor and respect depended on what Sarah did. She did what was right by listening to her husband and complying with his request. Peter writes that women are to be like Sarah who blessed her husband with this obedience “whose daughters you are if you do good”. Peter could not be referring to the wrong that Abraham did since the half-truth that both Abraham and Sarah told others about being brother and sister was the direct cause of God’s judgment to come to the Egyptians and a threat of death to come to Abimelech who was an innocent man. Sarah is never said to have done “good” in giving out a half-truth and God Himself was able to protect Abraham without his wife having to say what was not fully truthful. Since Peter specifically pointed out the passage where Sarah’s obedience was given to Abraham, the very time that she called him lord, I don’t think that we should interject the times where they acted in fear and input those instances into Peter’s specific commendation about the “good” that Sarah did through obedience.

    I do believe that Sarah gave her husband a sign of respect by calling him lord, as a general term, but I can’t prove that since there is only one instance of where it happened. It is apparent that she respected her husband, no matter what she called him.

    So I do not think that Peter is referring to telling half lies as the “good” that Christian women are to follow regarding Sarah. I believed it is her respectful attitude towards him and her willingness to listen when he asks her to do what he asked. I believe that it is a loving act when a woman respects her husband and tries to serve him. I also believe that it is a respectful thing for a husband when he serves his wife and gives himself up for her. I believe that both are examples of mutual submission.

  88. I think your explanation of v5,6 is the most satisfactory that I have ever heard. Thanks Cheryl for taking the time to serve me and everyone else here with the gifts God has given you.

  89. Thanks Craig! That really makes me feel like my work has been worth the time and effort I put into it. Thank you for taking the time to encourage me as I am so encouraged when people take the time to let me know that I have helped them in some small way.

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